Governors Defend Lean Finely Textured Beef; Tell Media 'Dude Its Beef'

Thursday, March 29, 2012

(American Meat Institute)

Governors and lieutenant governors from Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota came together today to defend the safety and nutrition of lean finely textured beef. The group took a walking tour of the Sioux City, Nebraska BPI facility that produces the product, which was followed by a lively press conference that was also attended by Under Secretary for Food Safety Elizabeth Hagen, STOP President Nancy Donley and Gary Acuff, Ph.D., director of the Center for Food Safety.

Opening the press conference, Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy told those in attendance that he has a new slogan for lean finely textured beef: “dude it’s beef.”

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he, too, hopes the phrase catches on and noted that because of this “unwarranted food scare” the price differential between lean and fat ground beef is likely to grow, something that is in direct opposition to the country’s stated goal of reducing obesity.

“If there is a safety issue I am absolutely for going after it and we have, but that is not what this is. This isn’t merited. My hope is that people will take another look at it and realize that this is a quality beef product,” Brownback said.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who yesterday participated in a joint press conference with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, again voiced his full confidence in the product.

‘This is a safe and reliable product. This company has gone out of its way to protect the consumers,” Branstad said.

Elizabeth Hagen, USDA's Under Secretary for Food Safety, also reiterated the department’s stance that the product is safe.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said he was proud to offer his support and add his voice to “those calling for cooler and calmer heads,” and urged the media to start reporting the facts.

“Let’s call this product what it is and let pink slime become a term of the past,” Perry said.

At one point during the question and answer portion of the event, Perry turned the tables on ABC World News reporter, Jim Avila, chastising him for sloppy reporting. Avila has repeatedly used the term “pink slime” during his relentless coverage of the issue.

“That’s why we are here, because of how you referred to the product. If you had called it finely textured beef would we be here?” Perry asked.

More than 650 workers in Kansas, Texas and Iowa have been laid off in recent days following closures at BPI, a primary processor of the product.

For more information, about lean finely textured beef, go to http://www.meatsafety.org/ where you will see a complete list of resources. 

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