April 10, 2012

Five Ways The Pink Slime Industry Is Buying Influence In Government

Pink slime, the ammonia-treated filler substance made with beef scraps, was once reserved for dog food before corrupted regulators changed the rules. But a recent media firestorm has reignited the controversy, leaving many people asking why the U.S.D.A. does not require groceries, school cafeterias, or restaurants to disclose which products contain the mystery meat. Now with the battle over whether to require companies to disclose which food products contain this substance, it’s worth taking a more in-depth look at how the pink slime industry is again flexing its lobbying muscle. Last week, we introduced you to the lobbyists for the industry. Here is a list of other ways the industry is asserting itself as regulators and lawmakers reconsider how the product is labeled:

1. Increasing Lobbying Spending: Pink slime company Beef Products Inc. has more than quadrupled federal lobbying expenditures since 2009. Pink slime makers also lobby through the American Meat Institute, a multimillion dollar trade association that retains several firms on K Street along with its own advocacy staff.

2. Hiring Public Relations Firms To Aggressively Rebrand Pink Slime: Beef Products Inc. recently hired the public relations company Ketchum to lash back at critics. Republic Report has confirmed that Ketchum operates the pro-pink slime websites BeefIsBeef.com and PinkSlimeIsAMyth.com. Gaius Publius, a writer for AmericaBlog, caught anonymous commenters on his site using the same IP address who were sending readers to the Beef Products Inc. PR website.

3. Using Front Groups To Smear Opponents Of Pink Slime: Nancy Donley, the president of a group called Safe Tables Our Priority (STOP), has toured the country defending pink slime. She even appeared at recent press conferences in Iowa to lash out at the media for criticizing the product. As ABC News and the Atlantic have noted, Donley’s group is sponsored by at least $750,000 in donations from Beef Products Inc. The sponsorship information was stripped from Donley’s website in recent days. Infamous astroturf lobbyist Rick Berman, also known for being financed by the beef and poultry industry, is out vocally defending the pink slime industry.

4. Hiring Former Members of Congress To Thwart Government Oversight: One of the lobbyists now retained by Beef Products Inc., Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a former Democratic congresswoman from South Dakota, recently circulated a letter in Congress warning legislators not to take action on her client’s company.

5. Campaign Contributions To Pro-Pink Slime Politicians: One of the fiercest defenders of pink slime has been Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), who received over $150,000 from Beef Products Inc. executives in his last campaign. A Des Moines Register investigation revealed that executives from the company have contributed over $800,000 in recent years to state and federal candidates. Beef Products Inc. CEO Eldon Roth, who is featured in one of Mitt Romney’s books, has contributed $180,000 to the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign. Congressman Steve King (R-IA), a top recipient of beef industry campaign cash, has pledged to hold hearings into why the media is scrutinizing the pink slime industry.

Michele Simon, a policy consultant with the Center for Food Safety, told Republic Report that pink slime companies are ramping up their efforts to block accountability into the industry. “The meat industry is very good at responding to this sort of crisis with PR,” said Simon. “They’re trying to tell the American public there’s nothing to see here.”

An infographic showing how the pink slime industry is spending more on lobbying can be found here.

  • Again, you seem to use references out of context.
    1. How does BPI compare to other industry leaders, say the oil industry, on campaign donations?
    2. If a company was attacked by media, of course they would hire a PR firm. You are also wrong regarding the PR firm representing BPI. Have you seen the news lately? There was a conflict of interest between Ketchum and BPI, and the account was passed to a sister company. This was due to Wendys advertising the product was not in their ground beef.
    3. You fail to mention Nancy Donley lost her only son to E. coli poisoning, and Eldon Roth has worked with Nancy and STOP to prevent other children from falling to the same surmise.
    4. Did the letter not recommend getting complete information instead of acting on what was represented by the news?
    5. How much does the average presidential, governor, senate, house campaign cost? The numbers you present seem small compared to other industry leaders.

    Is this a real article, that was actually published online? Is this what we expect from journalism today? It would seem you have done very little work in writing the article, and I would be very disappointed if I was the editor. I hope in the future you do your research before submitting your article.

    • Truthseeker

      David Terry works at a pink slime company (look at his Facebook page)

      • And your point is…
        I am proud of where I work and the product I help to produce. I could tell you all about it like the media does, but that would not teach you anything. Lazy Americans expect to be spoon-fed the information from the media instead of spending time to learn the truth. The same is true of this author. Working at BPI has made me expect higher standards, but media and the public [epic] fail at performing their own thinking. Truthseeker, as you can see I did not post anonomously. It is easy to throw punches when nobody knows who you are…

        • Logan Stewart

          The point is…. you are knowingly or unknowingly directly involved in producing and selling a product that is falsely labeled and deceptive to the American public. I understand that you are proud of your work and making money off of producing this product (in some capacity) but consumers (including me) have a right to know what we are buying and eating. The choice is, and should be our’s to make. This is economic fraud on a grand scale. The perpetrators will get their due. I am very sorry only for all the loyal and dedicated employees and their families who will suffer the most from this fiasco. The Beef industry will adjust. The consumer will also, albeit at a somewhat higher price for their 100 % ground beef. I sincerely doubt that Eldon and Regina Roth will ever miss a meal with all the money they have amassed, but then the lawsuits haven’t started yet….stay tuned!

          • And why is it falsely labeled? Ammonia gasses off at -70 degrees F, so the product consumers receive have no added ammonia. Would you have it labelled “compare to other ground beef which has killed children”, which is a fact. Look up 1993, Jack in the Box ground beef, and then you may understand why ammonia was used by the Roths. The process was already approved. The ammonia was due to the deaths of children from consuming contaminated ground beef. If you have children, maybe you should look at them and say, “I’m sorry but I’m going to bypass a safety mechanism which may kill you in the future.” – Love, Dad. Good job making sure your family is safe.

          • Harry S Nydick

            Wonderful rationalization, David. As an insider, you are certainly well-equipped with all of the data and justifications. So, just how do you explain that controlled testing of pink slime revealed that your ammonia process failed, because the presence of e coli bacteria was shown to exist in samples of your finished product? If the sole reason for using ammonia is to purify the ‘beef’ from various fecal and other bacteria, then your process cannot be guaranteed effective – and, if it failed even once, it cannot be trusted. The answer is not to take virtual garbage and make it appear edible. The answer is to take greater precaution in the first place. It was sloppiness that caused the Jack in the Box disaster, not lack of an ammonia treatment.

          • I cannot comment on any “failure” of the ammonia process because I do not have knowledge of that fact. I would not want to portray myself as knowing facts I in fact do not. What I can say of the ammonia process and its’ effectiveness comes from the New York Times. This was following an article published badly portraying the company and undermining the ammonia process. I cannot say which page the article was published on or how well-known the retraction was to the public.
            [“Correction: January 12, 2010
            An editorial on Sunday mischaracterized the safety record of ground meat produced by Beef Products Inc. The editorial said incorrectly that two 27,000-pound batches of processed beef had been recalled. The contamination of the meat was discovered by the company in its plant before the beef was shipped. No meat produced by Beef Products Inc. has been linked to any illnesses or outbreaks.”]

          • Martina

            Yes, ammonia gas is used to kill deadly bacteria and it’s very effective. But the reason why the deadly bacteria is there in the first place is the filthy way the animals have to live. They dwell in their own and in each other feces until the day they are slaughtered; to say that the whole process is unhygienic is an understatement. Cows that are out in the open, living on vast green fields eating grass like they should will never have their meat contaminated with feces and deadly bacteria after slaughter. They also don’t have to be fed antibiotics for the same reason. You also should know they don’t need antianxiety and antidepressants and steroids to “thrive”. Back to the nature and back to basics is the only way to go Pink Slime is a substance resulting from many a chemical and unnatural processes and I personally wouldn’t go near it. But you must believe in the product you are helping to make or else you wouldn’t feel good about your life. I understand.

          • cartmen

            David i think you should shut your mouth before i cave your head in. I don’t give a rats fuck about how “safe” you claim it is. I DON’T WANT TO EAT THAT SHIT. Neither does anyone else. Seriously you’re just an idiot.

          • Again, thank you for the effort. You cannot claim “anyone” because you do not speak “everyone”. Also, “idiot” is an opinionated term and may not be generally recognized as accurate.

          • guest

            EVERYONE I know is laying off ground beef unless they KNOW from where it comes. This is what happens when greedy, unscrupulous men use factories to manufacture our food. Bring the farmers back!!

          • Martina

            Again, why don’t you just shut your condescending “pink slime” hole. Many of us are tired of your garbage.

          • Thank you Martina. I hope you learn more truth regarding the process while you read the comments on this article.

          • cartmen

            Plus you like the Dallas Cowboys so obviously you shovel dick into your mouth.

          • Thank you for your time and effort.

          • Trym1234

            Hi, my name is James, and I am currently a second year college student.
            I’m here because I’ve wanted to say a few words about “pink slime” for a while now.
            You see I wrote a paper this semester in my English class about Pink Slime, and after doing my OWN research, I’ve came to my own conclusion about the mixed beef. But we know all the points, thanks mainly to ABC, recently. I’m here because of the aggression everyone is showing to an employee, when he proves them wrong. Because we all know on the internet, if you’re proven wrong, just type a few profane words, CAPS WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO SAY, and you make an effective point *snicker*.
            We all have pride for our jobs, what we do in life (and if you don’t I’m sorry for what you do), and how we go about doing it. Don’t bash a man who works for the company that has received a rap, because of what the media has done. Because it’s furthering even more the same concept, see news, get angry…. read on the internet, then post the most obscene thing you can think of to make a point (I personally laugh at those).
            I am not an employee of any of the major “slim” producers, but whil I have a moment:
            1) Quit throwing children into the mix…because when you’re proved wrong all it means, is you literally hide behind a child.
            2) We worry about an almost gaseous mix in our food, and it’s supposed to be poisonous? Never mind the fact ammonium hydroxide is used in quite a bit of things you eat. So not eating ground beef any more will not have any impact on your body
            (http://www.codexalimentarius.net/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=380) How about the bottle of Tylenol we take, which has been shown to affect your liver? Or one of my favorites, the ORGANIC ground beef which was recalled only last year due to *GASP* E. Coli (http://news.consumerreports.org/safety/2011/01/organic-ground-beef-recalled-due-to-possible-e-coli-contamination.html)?
            In closing, yes we have been eating it for years, and with all the outrage about not eating it, I would bet everything even after all this outcry, we are still ingesting what everyone is so scared of. And can we not forget as humans, we are supposed to eat meat (no offense vegetarians, but did you know when you say “you feel better after not eating meat, it’s a placebic(sic) effect?)
            So yeah, move along…there really is NOTHING to see here.
            David, you and your employers keep up the good work; at least some company is trying to make something safe and is made in the US. Majority of these people probably buy everything, including their children’s toys direct from China through Ebay or Amazon (which has been shown as a proxy for Chinese goods). Thank you for listening!

          • CatKinNY

            According to the testing done, your product has higher levels of bacterial contamination than normally produced ground beef, which makes sense when you consider that you are extracting ‘product’ from the lower legs of animals that spend their lives knee deep in shit on feedlots. This is not your fault, but as someone once said “You can’t get a man to understand something when his livelihood depends on his not understanding it”. Your facility needs to go back to what used to be done with these left overs: render them for dog food, whose stomachs can handle it. Sorry David, we’re not going to eat this crap, and no PR campaign will alter that. Instead of writing here, you should be working on your resume.

          • A – Would you so kindly link the research article with the “testing” results you are claiming?
            B – we are not forcing you to eat the product, we only want the product to be labelled so consumers can make informed decisions; not to remove the product or make it the sole choice.
            C – You are misquoting Upton Sinclair, and need to check your source. Maybe you can link the site you found the incorrect quote with the site that gave you incorrect testing results.

          • Martina

            So label it! Here is an idea for the label: “mixture of garbage, feces, and dead bacteria” instead of your “KoolAid”. There! Now we all can make an informed decision. Come on, David, deep down in the very core of your morally corrupt soul your know what I am talking about:)

          • The company is pushing to have the product labeled by the suppliers. The company cannot label the product as you suggest because garbage and feces are not part of the process. I would happily eat meat with dead E. coli compared to meat with live pathogenic E. coli. The remark of “dead bacteria” adds nothing to your argument.

      • guest

        Aha, you did your research Truthseeker, we should have known Terry was an imposter. Thanks.

  • Flybum

    Okay guys, here is the real solution. Let’s rebrand it as Soylent Pink.

  • Rewrite1

    I don’t know, Flybum, re-branding “pink slime” as “Soylent Pink” would reflect negatively on eating people. Most of my friends would prefer eating “Soylent Green,” (made from people) rather than this “pink slime” stuff, so please don’t spearhead any efforts to associate our nutritious, readily available “Soylent Green,” with that nauseating “Pink Slime.” Thanks.

  • kristimg

    This product has never been hidden from the public. The product has always been on the label: beef. If they were trying to hide something why would the owner himself take Food.Inc film makers into his plant? The problem those film makers had, however, was that there was no “boogey man” at BPI, so they had to do some creative editing to make it scarey to a population who believe everything they are spoon fed. Jaime Oliver’s bit is another example of how the actual process wasn’t scary enough to sell a show or a book, so they had to tweek the yuck factor meat processing enough get people interested. These creatures who try to scare up something out of nothing to make themselves rich and famous are way worse than a company who has to get a PR department to help save their company. Do you suppose these TV chefs and film makers have PR people? you betcha they do.

    • withering_fire

      To make it seem like he wasn’t hiding anything. This is why malefactors in the past have gone on “60 Minutes”.

      And what beef means regulatory-wise can be way different from what it practically means to people.

    • guest

      Sorry Kristimg, hit like in error-do not agree with you at all, you betcha.

    • guest

      We’re really not that stupid Kristi….

    • Martina

      Kristi, nice job turning the blind eye! But fewer and fewer people are this ignorant anymore. Come on, Kristi, search your soul, I betcha that somewhere deep down in your repressed conscience and moral core you know this is a stretch: Beef??????? Pink Slime is to beef what high-fructose corn syrup is to table sugar. Actually it’s far worse.

      • You almost have it correct Martin. Fructose/glucose is taken in by the body in the same manner as sucrose. Studies have shown a diet in HFCS may lead to adverse health affects. What the studies do not tell you is that a diet high in table sugar will have the same adverse health affects. Any high sugar diet will have negative affects. In this regard, you are another victim of the media hysteria bloating the affects of one product because it has a scary name, and America is too uneducated to sort through the smoke & mirrors.

      • kristimg

        My eyes are wide open because I have actually taken the time to research the topic. I am not blindly accepting what I see and hear on TV and on the internet. I am also not slinging insults at other posters who feel differently than I do.

  • kristimg

    Where did my post go? Did it touch a little too close to the truth?

  • Pingback: Iowa Gov. Branstad Attacks 'Shadowy' Bloggers Exposing Pink Slime, Says Asking About Industry Cash Is A 'Smear'()

  • I don’t want to eat it. It should be my choice not to purchase products that I believe may be bad for my health. I now have a butcher I trust who doesn’t add it. I certainly no longer buy ground beef at the supermarket anymore.

    • Bjohnson660609

      That’s why labeling is being implemented on lean finely textured beef. If you “believe” it’s not bad for you don’t buy it even though food scientists and the USDA agree it is safe and healthy beef product.

      • I agree with you. Label the product and lets consumers have a choice.

      • I heard from “scientists” that smoking was not harmful. We heard from scientists that thalidomide was safe for use by pregnant women. We know now they were lying. I will avoid it.

        • Vince

          What alternate reality are you living in where scientists say that smoking isn’t bad for you…. by the way, how much do clothes cost in the Matrix?

          • Apparently you are too young to remember that. But it happened. Scientists also said thalidomide was safe for pregnant women, with terrible results. Not too long ago, scientists said that a new antibiotic was safe, and soon after people died from liver failure after one treatment of the antibiotic.

            Just because you don’t study the past, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

          • Vince

            And apparently you are ignorant enough to think that this day and age that, let alone a scientist, but the Secretary of Agriculture would tarnish their careers by endorsing a product harmful to humans. Have you ever read a real grievance against LFTB? No, because it is a safe and reliable product. Sure it’s different from the “standard consistency” of ground beef you’re used to but none the less it is the same. This is why people that choose to ignore food scientists, USDA officials, and biologists do not have to buy a safer and cheaper product when labeling is implemented.

          • If you believe that Fracking chemicals are good for the environment, and that the Koch brothers don’t pollute, and that scientists aren’t bought by big business just like our elected representatives. You are truly messed up. Go away troll.

          • What chemicals are you referring to? Are you referring to the ammonia, which is not in the final product due to it’s extremely low boiling point of -70F? If the system is so corrupt you should run for office. The nation would support you because you would not be corrupt and would do what is good for the 300 million Americans.

          • What was the scientists name, or who did he work for? Do you have any useful information besides blanket claims without proof?

          • Since BPI has spent 140,000 this year for lobbying I am sure the stuff must be bad since they have to buy congressmen to keep it legal.


  • Pingback: The Healist()

  • Pingback: Mr. L. Goldsack()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Cheats for Poptropica()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: butyryl akcheh allotriophagy()

  • Pingback: Love Letters For Him()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Red meat: healthy or harmful?()