Over the last 2 years, Food Seminars International has produced over 100 online “webinars” on food safety and related fields. FSI often teams up with the Food Processing Suppliers Association to produce their webinars and the speakers are some of the top people in the business.
FSI and FPSA has announced a free 1-hour webinar called “Lean Finely Textured Beef: Separating Myths and Reality,” presented by Dr. Keith Warriner of the University of Guelph. Dr. Warriner is an internationally known and respected researcher and lecturer in the field of food safety, as well as one of FSI’s regular and most popular webinar presenters.
Aaron Brown of FSI said he chose the topic of Lean Fine Textured Beef (“LFTB”) because “it has been featured prominently in the news lately, and it is a topic laced with controversy.”
Most of the ‘news’ has been weak on facts and strong on stampede journalism. The initial photograph that accompanied the early news stories, for instance, was ‘lean, finely textured poultry,” not beef. The product descriptions tended to be overwrought and misleading. Social web sites latched onto the initial and factually incorrect reports and rebroadcast them extensively – going ‘viral’ in a matter of hours.
In the FSI webinar, Dr. Warriner takes a fair and balanced approach, letting the facts tell the story. His comments will probably be dismissed as the words of an industry lackey by the likes of ABC’s Jim Avila, the product’s leading assassin. Warriner’s credentials are first-rate, though, and his knowledge is light years ahead of the so-called reporters who added little to the story.
Although it’s too late to save bankrupt LFTB supplier AFA Foods, a near billion dollar company and its 850 jobs, it might help save BPI, the main resource of the product and a company with an outstanding food safety record. A BPI company spokesman just announced that the shutdown of three of their plants will be permanent, leaving 650 people out of a job, and the reduced production at their main plant will continue.
The lost business was caused in part by several major fast-food restaurant chains that stopped using LFTB to avoid adverse publicity, led by McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell. The product was also made an ‘option’ for school food service purchases as the USDA bowed to pressure created by a petition drive launched by Bettina Elias Siegel, the Lunch tray lady (www.lunchtray.com).
FSI posted the LFTB 1-Hour presentation on YouTube for ease of access. Click on this link if you’d like to see it.