Today governors from three states will tour a plant in South Sioux City that makes a lean beef product that's been blasted by critics.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad held a news conference yesterday with former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, the nation's ag secretary, to denounce those critics.
Beef Products Incorporated is the nation's leading processor of this "boneless, lean beef" product. It has already shut down its plant in Waterloo, putting 200 people out of work. Branstad and a delegation of officials will visit B-P-I's plant in South Sioux City today which has reduced production dramatically due to declining consumer demand.
B-P-I plants in Texas and Kansas have been idled this week and the governors of those two states will join Branstad today for a tour of the South Sioux City plant.
Branstad accuses the national media of a "poisonous tone"about this product that will hurt the nation's cattle producers and the people who work at the plants. The lean, finely-textured beef product is made from the trimmings left over after beef carcasses are cut into steaks and roasts. According to Vilsack, "hundreds" of schools asked the U-S-D-A to ban the product from school lunches.