In recent weeks, slimeslinging over Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) has reached fever pitch. Now public criticism of the stuff has heated up enough to send one meat company into bankruptcy.
Ground beef producer AFA foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, citing “recent changes in the market” as the reason for its sudden profit loss, according to Huffington Post.
Public outcry at the discovery that LFTB is treated with a high level of ammonia has led many major grocery chains including Safeway, Kroger and Supervalu to stop purchasing this type of beef.
AFA, which uses the ammonia-treated beef in its products, is one of the country’s largest ground beef processors, putting out more than 500 million pounds of product each year.
The firm says it is now seeking a sale of some or all of its assets.
Beef Products Inc., which produces the controversial LFTB approved by the USDA in 2001, has also been hit hard by the controversy. Last week the company halted production at 3 of its 4 plants and decreased output at the remaining facility by 70 percent. As a result, 650 workers were temporarily laid off.
Over 3,000 companies source the beef from BPI and will be affected by the shutdown, according to the American Meat Association.
Estimates suggest that until a month or so ago approximately 70 percent of ground beef in America contained LFTB.
Last week, after BPI’s plant closure, three governors went to bat for the beef industry to try and salvage the market for the ground beef trim, now widely referred to as “pink slime.”
“Dude, it’s beef!” exclaimed Kansas Governor Sam Brownback during the press conference. “It’s good beef.”
But AFAs financial trouble seems to suggest that at least, so far, the plea of the meat industries and the politicians who support them may not be able to restore favor for a product with such a smeared reputation.