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Pink Slime Maker To Close Plants, 650 To Lose Jobs


Some other news. Two words - pink slime - have been powerful enough to cost the jobs of 650 meat-processing workers.

Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports on the backlash against a ground-beef filler.

PAT BLANK, BYLINE: Officials with Beef Products Incorporated, or BPI, will permanently close three production plants in Waterloo, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and Garden City, Kansas; by the end of the month.

BPI is the maker of what the industry calls lean, finely textured beef, a product that critics refer to as pink slime. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad calls the words inaccurate and inappropriate.

GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD: I take this very personally because I have a brother and nephews that are raising cattle, and I look at this as an attack at the food industry in our state.

BLANK: One of the company's founders, Regina Roth, says the words "pink slime" hurt demand.

REGINA ROTH: Our commitment has always been to produce a safe, wholesome product, so it has been so disheartening for our family, and our employees, to see these negative and misleading stories lead to consumer concerns.

BLANK: Lean, finely textured beef is made from leftover trimmings from steaks and roasts, and is treated with ammonia. Critics say anything that needs to be treated with ammonia should not be on our plate, but the FDA says it's safe. And most large supermarkets continue to stock it on their shelves.

For NPR News, I'm Pat Blank in Waterloo, Iowa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Pat Blank
Pat Blank has been with Iowa Public Radio for 27 years. She was hired as a reporter and eventually was chosen to host Morning Edition at the Cedar Falls studios in 1986. She has been host of All Things Considered since 1995. She is a nationally award-winning reporter who has also worked in commercial radio and television. Pat has served as a part-time instructor at Wartburg College and at the University of Northern Iowa, where she teaches journalism classes. She is on the Board of Control for UNI’s student run radio station, KULT. She is currently serving a second term on the Iowa Archives of Broadcasting National Advisory Board. Most recently, Pat was honored by receiving the Jack Shelley Award for Broadcast Excellence, in 2014.