Three governors visited a beef processing plant near Sioux City today, with one calling it an effort to get “cooler and calmer heads to address” the scare over what critics call “pink slime”. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad objects to that term for what the industry calls “lean, finely textured beef.”
“It’s time to end the smear campaign and to stop the use of inaccurate, inappropriate and charged words that are designed to scare people,” Branstad said. He spoke at news conference after taking a tour of the Beef Products Incorporated (BPI) plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
AUDIO press conference comments from BPI’s Regina Roth, Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (8:30)
BPI, which produces the lean, finely textured beef, has suspended operations at plants in Waterloo, Kansas and Texas and has limited shifts at the plant in South Sioux City. Regina and Eldon Roth founded BPI in 1981. Regina says misleading media stories have led to a sharp reduction in demand for their product.
“Our commitment has always been to produce a safe, wholesome product,” Roth said. “So, it has been so disheartening for our family and our employees to see these negative and misleading stories lead to consumer concerns.”
Lean, finely-textured beef is made from the trimmings left over after steaks and roasts are cut out of beef carcasses. Branstad noted that the product has never caused any illnesses. “I think we’ve just seen it confirmed from our trip through the plant that this is a safe and reliable product. This company has gone out of its way to protect the safety of the consumers and no one has become sick by this product,” Branstad said.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Texas Governor Rick Perry joined Branstad on the tour of the plant.