How Pink Slime Stopped Being Dog Food and Wound Up in Your Burger

One of the many weird things about blogging is that you’ll never know what takes off. My pink slime post about beef filler that contains ammonia has been one of my all-time most read posts. But what I didn’t know is the history of pink slime regulation:

Joann Smith [a Bush 41 appointee], as an under secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the early 90s, made the decision to allow pink slime, once reserved as strictly dog food, to be sold for human consumption. Smith later stepped down from her government position and joined the board of directors of Beef Products Inc., the top pink slime manufacturing company, receiving compensation of over $1.2 million over some 17 years.

I’m not sure I would want to feed pink slime to dogs. Think about it: until recently, the powers that be were perfectly fine with feeding children meat that, before 1991, was literally only fit for a dog. But don’t worry, where there’s lobbying and corruption, if you can’t find a Republican, you can find a former Blue Dog Democrat:

Beef Products Inc. retains a team of lobbyists from the firm Olsson, Frank & Weeda. One lobbyist employed by the firm is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a former congresswoman from South Dakota and leader of the “Blue Dog Caucus” of pro-corporate Democrats. Sandlin recently circulated a letter among congressional insiders to defend her client and warn against efforts to bring greater scrutiny to pink slime:

“Dear colleagues, letters have started to circulate on the Hill which perpetuate serious, misleading information attacking BPI and its product […] I respectfully request that the senator/representative not sign such letters and also urge their colleagues to get more complete information beyond what recent sensationalized ‘news’ stories have provided.”

Until the Blue Dogs are driven out of the Democratic Party, we–and our food–are not safe.

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