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How the Pink Slime Industry Buys Influence in Government

Lee Fang
United Re:public / News Analysis
Published: Friday 13 April 2012
“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.”
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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. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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.

Here’s how the pink slime industry buys influence:

– 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. Our blog has confirmed that Ketchum operates the pro-pink slime websites and Gaius Publius, a writer for America Blog, 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,   United Republic’s blog, 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.”

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ABOUT Lee Fang

Lee Fang is an investigative researcher and contributing author for NationofChange. A resident of Sacramento, CA, Lee has written for the Boston Globe, The Nation, and

All one needs to do is touch

All one needs to do is touch the beef.its slimy as a snell.30 years ago in this country one could pick up the beef without it sliding through our fingers.Wake up Julie we are eating more chemicals then ever.Just check how the cancer rate has gone up.Mostly stomach and rectal.That should give a clue right there.

The corporate elite are

The corporate elite are killing the golden goose. How are all we "consumers" going to "consume" the crap from China when we are dead and dying of cancer from the poison soilent green food? Sick, can't work, let go from our jobs, with no health care thanks to Paul Ryan, how can our young be cannon fodder for their endless wars? Guess they will conscript illegals to pick up the bodies. Maybe a mutant race will emerge to serve them. Or, Mitt and Newt and all the boyz can take the last space ship to the Republicon colony on the moon. I am sure they will survive somehow but the rest of us are toast.

Easy solutionsA. Fed Fund

Easy solutionsA. Fed Fund Election--6 months-3 primary 3 generaldebate a week=12 = adequate to evaluate candidatesNO $$$$$B. Since members of Congress and White House will have no need for campaign funds BAN them from receiving anything with a financial valueKeep them off the road and on the jobC. Progressive FLAT tax by group---no deductions burn tax book

What we have all been exposed

What we have all been exposed to with this "pink slime" coverage is a classic example of media sensationalism aimed at ratings and not based on facts. The question we should really be asking ourselves is, who's going to suffer? Well, simple economics will tell us we, as consumers, will pay more at the meat counter due to the lose of quality lean beef in the market place. I would encourage that we all do some research for ourselves and not buy into the media hype. A well informed consumer now has the tools to, and will, make good choices.

Have any of you out there

Have any of you out there heard about KOSHER Ground Beef? "KOSHER" MEANS "CLEAN". It's a little bit more expensive to purchase, but it dosen't contain "PINK SLIME"! Remember, "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR"!!!!

Obiwancelery for President!

Obiwancelery for President! ;)

Why not call them BRIBSTERS?

Why not call them BRIBSTERS?

My comment is about the

My comment is about the picture of the plate of meat/pink slime . I grew up on a farm and my parents butchered and processed our own meat for the family. This included grinding (in a small grinder clamped to the kichen table) some of the meat as hamburger, if beef, and as sausage, if pork. That ground meat came out of those little holes in the front of the grinder looking exactly like the meat in the picture. As a kid, I thought it looked really gross, like squiggly worms! But the cooked hamburgers sure tasted good. Of course, no chemicals added!

even grinding our own ham

even grinding our own ham burger is no guarantee we get healthy meats.
Just the antibiotics alone thast is being fed to the animals is having the public get more and more immune to antibiotic treatment.
One way to help stop this mess is to stop buying the meats or go organic.(not a sure thing either)

Instead of calling them

Instead of calling them lobbyists why not call them hustlers. And those who take the money "marks". It's all a huge hustle. Monsanto is next on my list of mass monsters.

Monstroso is explainable via

Monstroso is explainable via this video on psychopathy:

'Psychopath' - full film >



One of the ways to deal with

One of the ways to deal with this is to challenge these corporate prostitutes to eat RAW pink slime on national TV. If it's so good for the rest of the people it should be good for them, no? Have a nice salad tossing day!

I usually agree with and

I usually agree with and learn from NationofChange, but I don't agree with the "Pink Slime" label used here. It is a lot like the term "death taxes," a negative connotation that slants the discussion without adding information. When I really listen to the information - not the hype - on both sides of this issue, I am not convinced it is a secret plot or even a health risk.
I do agree totally that publicly funded elections would correct a lot of what ails us today. But I think the hubris about this product is misplaced.

It is mostly nutrition-free

It is mostly nutrition-free connective tissue (gristle) ground up finely to be imperceptible, then disinfected because it is more likely than other slaughterhouse products to be contaminated with fecal bacteria (sh*t). I agree, it's not a secret conspiracy, nor a health risk, just an outright fraud that the sellers wish to continue.

How many

How many liberals/progressives live in a hostile family environment? By hostile family, I mean progressives whose family members are right wing. My wife and I are constantly bombarded by crude emails. I always take the opportunity to bring up things such as pink slime, etc. There are usually blank faces. I think what we need to do is try to get the word out that pink slime has to be blasted with chemicals to protect the public from eating things that could make us sick, possibly kill us in the long run. All our family members hear is the rebuttal on FOX news, but they never hear all the salient details.

Fox News is nothing but a

Fox News is nothing but a twisted way of bringing the news.It isnt news at all.

many things we eat regularly,

many things we eat regularly, besides this product, get the same "blast" you describe - it is more like a "puff" and it has been protecting us for years and years. I'm not an expert - and not prepared to defend all the details - but I really encourage you to read both sides of this argument, outside of the hyperbole both sides are prone to use. There are good sources of real information.

No there isn't! Both

No there isn't!

Both sides?

The "other side" is motivated by profit. They will put any goddamned thing in our food and skip and inspection steps to increase the bottom line.

People like you, defenders of corporate America, are ruining our once great nation. I hope you are destroyed in the next election even though you right wing sons of bitches cheat like some banana republic tin horn dictator.

hello, until we have public

hello, until we have public funded elections things will continue. he who pays the piper calls the tune is the old adage. corruption reigns in washington and the 1% do not care at all or the rest of us. i believe that if this doesn't change soon, we are headed down the road to perdition. thank you, ber

There is just way too much

There is just way too much money floating around to stop this any time soon.The 1% have the politicians in there pockets.It would help to hurt them where it hurts most in there pockets.Stop buying meats for a lenght of time and see if they dont come around.It needs to start with the farmers to stop feeding there stock all this chemical crap.

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