A group of BPI workers showed up at the lobby of NBC affiliate KWWL in Waterloo, Iowa Monday. They say they are angry about attacks on their company and misinformation in news reports about so-called “pink slime”.
The product is made from beef trimmings which are put into a centrifuge that collects pieces of meat from the fat. The product is treated with gaseous ammonia to kill dangerous forms of E. coli.
The BPI employees say recent public attacks have crippled their company which has resulted in the indefinite closure of BPI’s plant in Waterloo. More than 200 people are now out of work.
BPI’s beef operations are located inside Tyson’s huge pork facility just outside Waterloo.
They say the public needs to know that the product is USDA approved. There have been no product recalls or illnesses reported from products with so-called “pink slime”.
Amber Schoaf, who no longer has a job because of the shutdown said, “It is not harmful in any means because it does get tested right when it gets to the door to the finished product that is going out. I would feed it to my family, personally.”
The workers say using the leftovers produces a leaner product for consumers who want it. It is often cheaper than regular butcher-prepared beef.
Recently, the USDA gave schools the option of dropping the beef filler product from their menus next year. Based on consumer reaction, demand has dropped off. Several fast food and grocery store chains have stopped buying the product.
BPI plants in Garden City, Kansas and Amarillo, Texas have also been indefinitely suspended.