Cargill rolls out new labelling for beef products

07th November 2013 - Fine Cut

US-based beef processor Cargill is set to introduce new methods of labelling its produce following criticism from regulators, which referred to some similar items on the market as "pink slime".

The company will roll out plans to identify when the meat is "finely textured beef" in order to avoid suffering a similar fate to its competitor BPI, which was forced to close down plants and dismiss employees last year.

Officials from Cargill said the decision to change its labelling technique came in response to its own survey of more than 3,000 consumers over the last 18 months about ground beef and how it is produced.

As part of the plans, which were reported by news agency Reuters, packaging will state when a product contains "finely textured beef" on boxes that are repackaged and sold to the public by retailers.

It is expected to roll out similar language printed on its branded packages of ground beef that are sold directly to consumers by next summer.

John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, said: "We've listened to the public, as well as our [retailer] customers and that is why today we are declaring our commitment to labelling finely textured beef."

This specific type of beef is made of scraps that are left over after cattle are butchered into cuts. Processors then remove the fat from trimmings and - in some cases - treat the meat for bacteria before mixing it with ground beef.

After last year's scandal, Cargill saw sales of its finely textured beef plummet by 80 per cent. Although this is now recovering, the company said it was acting on the desires of its customers for more information about how their products are made.

The company has become increasingly sensitve to the needs of consumers since the "pink slime" incident and is working to improve its services and boost sales.

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