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Policy Information on Lean Finely Textured Beef

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Food Distribution Program Recipient Agencies

Number: USDA-FDP-05-2012

Attention: Food Service Directors

Date: May 2012

Subject: U.S. Department of Agriculture Policy Information on Lean Finely Textured Beef Product

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service Policy Number: FD-121 National School Lunch Program, Donated Foods Possibly Containing Lean Finely Textured Beef

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides direction to Recipient Agencies (RA) on the reallocation or transfer of inventories of Lean Finely Textured (LFT) beef as outlined in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Policy Memo FD-121.

The USDA considers donated foods that contain LFT beef to be safe and nutritious. LFT beef is derived from a process that separates beef from trimmings to reduce the overall fat content.

SY 2011–12 Beef Orders and Current Inventories

The USDA specifications for beef purchases in School Year (SY) 2011–12 allow vendors the option to use LFT beef in all such products except canned beef, boneless beef combos, and special trim products (which are whole muscle cuts, not ground). Since the specifications allow the inclusion of up 10 percent LFT beef in coarse grind and up to 15 percent LFT beef in all other ground beef products, current inventories and all pending deliveries up to June 30, 2012, of all ground beef products may or may not contain LFT beef.

The USDA strongly encourages all RAs that have ordered donated beef products for use in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to use them as intended. However, if the RA chooses not to use their current inventories of products containing LFT beef, the procedures below must be followed. In making such a decision, RAs should consider that the USDA cannot provide entitlement credit or reimbursement for any processing-related fees or replacement product.

State Distribution Centers Inventory Reallocations or Transfers

If the RA does not wish to use donated beef products at the State Distribution Centers (SDC) in its school food service, the SDCs must determine if they can be reallocated to another RA that is willing to use them in an efficient manner. If the product cannot be reallocated, the SDCs must determine if they can be transferred to another state distributing agency (SDA), or can be transferred for use in the Emergency Food Assistance Program, or other eligible charitable institutions. The SDCs will be responsible for any transportation costs, and there will be no compensation to an RA or SDC for lost entitlement.

Processors Inventory Reallocations or Transfers

If the RA does not wish to use donated beef products at processors or distributors in their school food service, the FDP may reallocate such donated food inventories to another RA that is willing to purchase end products containing LFT beef. The FDP may also transfer such inventories to another SDA doing business with the same processor and ensure that end products processed from such donated foods will be purchased in a timely manner. However, donated beef products may not be transferred from one processor to another, except in those cases approved by the USDA. Again, there will be no compensation to the RAs for lost entitlement.

Donation of Foods in RAs Inventories

Donated foods received at RA storage facilities may be stored and inventoried together with RA’s purchased foods in a single inventory management system and are subject to the same requirements as purchased foods. In accordance with Section 9(1) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, the RA may donate any food not used in the NSLP to local food banks or other charitable organizations, if no other RA is willing to accept the food. This provision is applicable to donated beef products in RA inventories that they decide not to use in their school lunches. If RAs decide not to use such beef products, they should make every effort to donate them to a local food bank or other charitable organization that can efficiently use the food to serve needy people.

SY 2012–13 Beef Orders

For SY 2012–13, the USDA will offer a choice to order beef that does not contain LFT beef or to order beef that may contain LFT beef. All orders currently placed in the Web Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system for SY 2012–13 will default to products without LFT beef. The USDA will be purchasing ground beef products without LFT beef using the current WBSCM material codes as follows:

  • 100130, beef soy protein product (spp) patty, homestyle cooked
  • 100134, beef crumbles w/spp
  • 100154, beef coarse ground, frozen (frz) – processing
  • 100158, beef fine ground, frz
  • 100160, beef spp patty, frz
  • 100161, beef 100% patty, frz
  • 100162, beef patty 90/10%, frz
  • 100163, beef patty lean 95/5%, frz

In order to give RAs an option, the USDA has created the following new WBSCM material codes for beef products that may include LFT beef:

  • 110261, beef fine ground LFT option frz
  • 110270, beef patty lean 95/5% LFT option frz
  • 110264, beef crumbles spp LFT option new

You can find the full version of the USDA Policy Memo FD-121, “Donated Foods Possibly Containing Lean Finely Textured (LFT) Beef” dated March 30, 2012, on the Policies for Schools/Child Nutrition USDA Foods Programs Web page at External link opens in new window or tab..

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact Amy Bell, Child Nutrition Consultant, Food Administration Unit, by phone at 916-322-5051, toll-free at 800-952-5609, or by email at, or Sherry Tam, Child Nutrition Consultant, Food Administration Unit, by phone at 916-324-9875, toll-free at 800-952-5609, or by email at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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