About finely textured beef

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Finely textured beef is 100-percent beef that is exceptionally lean. It’s safe and nutritious, and families have been eating it for decades. It’s important in making lean ground beef.

To give consumers a choice in flavor and leanness, Cargill makes ground beef that ranges from 73 percent lean to 96 percent lean. Since ground beef naturally varies in how lean it is, we mix it with finely textured beef to achieve the right percentage for each product.  

Different companies use different safety measures in making finely textured beef. At Cargill, we use citric acid like you find in citrus fruit to help prevent bacteria. Nothing else is ever added to any of our ground beef.

Finely textured beef is an important way to ensure that consumers have safe, nutritious and affordable ground beef.

For more information and videos on Finely Textured Beef’s sustainability benefits as well as production process please visit www.CargillGroundBeef.com  

Q&A

What is finely textured beef?
It’s 100-percent beef, the same quality as steaks and roasts.

Is it safe?
Yes, it’s safe and fully approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Families have been eating it for decades.

How do you get finely textured beef?
When steaks and roasts are carved from a side of beef, small pieces of quality meat are left behind. In a process similar to separating milk from cream, those small pieces of beef are separated from the fat. The result is 100-percent beef that is exceptionally lean. The fat that has been separated is turned into tallow. It is not added back to the ground beef.

Why do you use it?
For several reasons

  • Consumer choice:Some consumers want leaner ground beef. Since ground beef naturally varies in leanness, we mix in finely textured beef to achieve a specific percentage of lean – from 73 percent lean to 96 percent lean.
  • Price: Ground beef is a staple in many homes, and we want to keep it affordable for all family budgets. Without finely textured beef, ground beef costs significantly more.
  • Wasting food is wrong: Thanks to finely textured beef, we gain another 26 pounds of quality beef from every animal. It is our responsibility to ensure that we use as much of the animal as we can.

If it’s beef, why does it have a special name?
Under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, beef is described by the process used to make it. Finely textured beef is a regulatory name that describes the process of separating meat from the fat in beef trimmings that are left when steaks or roasts are cut from a side of beef.

What parts of the cow are you using to make it?
Finely textured beef is made from the same parts of the cow where we get steaks and roasts. For ground sirloin, we use finely textured beef from sirloin cuts; for ground chuck, we use finely textured beef from chuck cuts.

How does it taste?
Finely textured beef tastes like beef because it is beef. It does not change the taste of ground beef.

Does Cargill use ammonia in making finely textured beef?
No. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved two safety measures for finely textured beef, one of which uses ammonia and one that uses citric acid. Cargill uses citric acid. Nothing else is added to our ground beef.

What is citric acid and why do you use it?
Citric acid is found naturally in fruit like oranges and lemons. It is used as a safety measure against naturally occurring bacteria.

Is citric acid used in making other foods?
Yes, it is widely used in a variety of foods and beverages.

What does Cargill think about labeling finely textured beef?
Because finely textured beef is 100-percent beef, labeling is not required. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, has approved the use of labels on a voluntary basis. Cargill has obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to label ground beef that includes finely textured beef.

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