Lahn: Beef at schools will be safe

It is not known if the beef filler, LFTB, dubbed “pink slime,” has ever been served in Princeton Public Schools. But if it has, two government agencies have declared it safe, according to Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Richard Lahn.

Princeton District Food Services Director Teresa Danner was asked last week if LFTB, which stands for lean finely-textured beef has ever been served in Princeton Public Schools. She provided a letter from Lahn on the subject, which doesn’t say whether or not LFTB has been served in Princeton schools.

Danner’s own answer to the question of whether it has been served was, “We do not know.”

Lahn said in his written statement, dated March 22, that “to safeguard the health and safety of students and staff, all future beef products ordered by the school district will be of a non LFTB variety.”

LFTB gained the slang term, “pink slime,” because of its reddish color in its raw state.

Beef Products, Inc., on Monday, suspended operations at all but one of its plants where it has been making LFTB. LFTB is an ammonia-treated beef ingredient filler. Craig Letch, director of food quality and assurance at Beef Products, is quoted in an ABC News story saying the company took a “substantial” hit over reports in social media about the topic.


Agencies call LFTB safe 

Lahn states in his letter that the school district had received notice within the past several days that “LFTB poses no food safety risk and that it is perfectly safe for consumption.” The notice was from the Minnesota Department of Education in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Lahn said.

He went on to say that as a “precautionary measure we will be inspecting our current food supplies to ensure our meat products are safe.”

Lahn stated that the district’s top priority will “always be the safety and well-being of our students and employees.”

“There’s been so much misinformation” about the subject, Danner told the Union-Eagle. Asked for specifics, she said the reports that LFTB is not safe were not correct. “We don’t want any false information,” she said. “The USDA feels it’s a safe product.”


Danner looks ahead

While questions have cropped up on LFTB lately, Danner is going through training this year, like other school food service workers across the country, to adjust school lunch menus to reflect new USDA standards. “You will see changes (in the school lunch menus) starting in the fall,” Danner said. The new standards, she said, address the amounts and kinds of fruits and vegetables that have to be included. “We’ll see more choices in fruits and vegetables,” she said, plus whole grains are part of the new USDA standards. The district some time ago went away from higher-fat dairy products, she noted.