Gov. Rick Perry and a coalition of governors and state officials today set the record straight about lean, finely textured beef during a tour of Beef Products Inc.'s (BPI) facility in Nebraska. The governor was joined by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, and Govs. Terry Branstad (Iowa), Sam Brownback (Kansas), Dave Heineman (Nebraska), and Lt. Gov. Matt Michels (South Dakota) for the tour.
"As governors, we owe it to the people of our states and their employers to ensure no industry succumbs to misinformation and false reports, many driven by ideological opponents with a clear agenda," Gov. Perry said. "Members of the media owe it to consumers to report the facts, so let's call this product what it is and make "pink slime" a term of the past."
Lean, finely textured beef is a 100 percent beef, 95 percent lean, nutritious, safe, quality and affordable beef product that has been eaten by Americans for 20 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has inspected and approved the production, food safety technologies and facilities used to make lean, finely textured beef, and has allowed it to be included in the National School Lunch Program.
"Today, many Americans are out of work and more are threatened because of misinformation about lean finely textured beef," Commissioner Staples said. "For more than two decades this 100-percent beef product has been approved by food safety experts as being safe to eat and enjoy in your home."
False media reports about lean, finely textured beef have led to unnecessary grocery retailer and consumer panic about the product, resulting in a temporary suspension in production and the temporary lay-off of more than 650 workers in three states, including about 200 employees in Amarillo. Despite sound scientific facts supporting the product, these baseless reports could inflict wide-spread damage on the beef industry, affecting as many as 3,000 American jobs, according to the National Meat Association.
Eliminating lean, finely textured beef from the market would put a strain on ranchers, who would need to raise as many as 1.5 million additional head of cattle to replace this safe source of beef, ultimately raising the cost of beef for American consumers.