Casting the recent pink slime outrage as a “smear campaign” on a nutritious beef product, the governors of three mega meat-producing states are calling for a rebranding of its image. At a press event last week, the governors of Texas, Iowa and Kansas chowed down on burgers made with lean finely textured beef (aka pink slime) and offered up their own slogan: “Dude, it’s beef.”
Consumer disgust over pink slime caused many restaurant and grocery store chains in recent weeks to swear off its use in their hamburger meat. The sudden dive in demand lead to the closing of several plants that produced pink slime, prompting meat industry friendly governors to jump to its defense.
Touting lean finely textured beef as cost-effective and nutritious, they offered a warning to consumers. “It’s beef, but it’s leaner beef which is better for you,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “We take this off the market then we end up with a fatter product that’s going to cost more and is going to increase the obesity problem in this country.”
But will their attempts work to recast pink slime in a better light? Images of the pasty pink product are now burned into the minds of Americans who feel they’ve been duped for years into buying and eating meat they’d believed was 100% fresh ground beef only to find out that it was often padded with an ammonia-treated beef by-product.
No matter what the beef industry, the media or politicians want to call it, ultimately consumers will decide whether ‘dude, it’s beef’ or if pink slime has been banished from their burgers for good.