DENVER (April 18, 2002) - Officers of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and McDonald's officials have announced the formation of a task force designed to find ways of improving the value of U.S. beef products by increasing exports of U.S. fed beef trimmings. The Task Force will look for ways to increase the export of U.S. 50/50 trim to other countries, where that kind of product is less available. The trim is used in all U.S. McDonald's operations, and company officials said export of the U.S. product into other countries would help both McDonald's and U.S.
The idea for the Task Force was generated during a video conference between NCBA officers and officials of the McDonald's Corporation last week. At the meeting, the NCBA officers, along with NCBA Chief Executive Officer Terry Stokes, expressed the industry's concern about McDonald's decision to test using imported beef and discuss possible options. NCBA officers on the call were President Wythe Willey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; President-Elect Eric Davis, Bruneau, Idaho; and Jan Lyons, Manhattan, Kansas.
Currently 50/50 trimmings from U.S. fed cattle sell for about 30 cents a pound. Ground beef operations mix those trimmings with either domestic or imported cow and bull meat to form 80 percent lean hamburger patties. Without lean beef, trimmings would be worth about a third of their current value as edible or inedible tallow. Many other countries have an excess of lean beef and fewer fed beef trimmings. Gaining access to those countries for this type of product would help boost it's value and help get it into 30,000 McDonald's restaurants in 121 countries. McDonald's serves more than 46 million people every day worldwide.
"As the U.S. beef industry's largest single brand customer, McDonald's is obviously very important to us, and we want them to use as much U.S. product as possible," said Willey. "To increase use of U.S. product from fed beef by McDonald's and other companies would help us get high quality U.S. product into many markets not currently serving U.S. beef. "It also makes sense to act as partners to break down the barriers to U.S. product in other countries," he said. "U.S. based restaurants use extensive amounts of U.S. trim in ground beef in this country. They'd benefit from serving U.S. products overseas, as well."