Lawmakers Urge Vilsack to Back “Pink Slime”


WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) — A group of 30 lawmakers this week threw their support behind lean finely textured beef, a product that has suffered criticism with a recent rise in public awareness that it’s widely used as a filler in the U.S. ground beef supply.

Supermarket chains have shunned the filler, known popularly as “pink slime,” and the U.S. Agriculture Department announced that schools will be able to opt out of receiving it in the food it gets as part of the federal school lunch program.

Representatives Tom Latham (R., Iowa), Mike Ross (D., Ark.) and 28 others signed onto a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging him to better inform the public about the filler’s good qualities.

Beef Products Inc., a major producer of the product, has suspended production at plants in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa.

“No company should be forced to close its doors due to a smear campaign by a few overzealous individuals in the media,” they wrote in the letter dated April 18.

Lean finely textured beef, the lawmakers said, “is a safe product and should be promoted as such.”

Vilsack, though, has already publicly defended the beef product despite the agency’s decision to allow schools to decline it.

The restaurant chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., recently hired a firm to conduct a survey of consumers that showed that 76{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} of the people polled were “at least somewhat concerned” and 30{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} were “extremely concerned” about eating the product.

“Red Robin has had to repeatedly assure our guests that we have never purchased or served beef containing the so-called ‘pink slime,’” said Steve Carley, the company’s chief executive.

Source:  Dow Jones

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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