FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Agriculture Commissioner has joined a growing choir of voices bemoaning the public outcry against the processed ground beef product known as “pink slime.”
On Monday, South Dakota-based Beef Products Inc. announced it would shutter three of its plants and begin operating a fourth at a limited capacity after incurring a “substantial” decline in revenue because of the pink slime controversy.
The Associated Press reported the closures –– which include a plant in Amarillo –– would mean the loss of 650 jobs. On Tuesday, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said he is upset about the job slicing and that there’s nothing wrong with the processed beef.
“Never, ever was it introduced that this was an unsafe product by those that really focus on it,” Staples said.
The so-called “pink slime” is lean, finely textured beef that’s made from throwaway trimmings, which are heated and the fat is rendered out. It’s then treated with small amounts of ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria and then flash-frozen for use as an additive in other foods.
It’s been on the market for years and meets federal food safety standards.
“We have to keep in mind that hamburger patties don’t start out round and frozen and pre-packaged and ready to put between two buns,” Staples said. “Chicken doesn’t come boneless and skinless and ready for the microwave.”
Staples said he hopes Beef Products, Inc. can reopen the plants that are going offline later this year as the company rebuilds consumer confidence in its product.
“To provide food for a growing world is a process,” Staples said. “We just don’t think about it because we show up at our grocery stores and the shelves are full that’s the way that we like it.”