By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
For months now, Beef Products Incorporated has been fighting to regain its image as a supplier of wholesome, safe food.
That's after some national and social media branded their product with a derogatory term.
Monday night, BPI took its message to the masses on RFD-TV.
Company spokesperson Rich Jochum and Plant Coordinator Jay Williams appeared on the rural television network's "Protect the Harvest" program, along with Iowa lawmaker Erik Helland.
During the half-hour discussion, the group dissected the controversy over BPI's lean finely textured beef.
Officials explained what it is, and more importantly, what it isn't.
"The fact that some people would say that our product is a lower quality, or a different quality, or a different material, or a filler, or an additive. It's none of those. But, those types of words are hard to work against. Especially, when you have a lot of momentum," said Williams.
BPI takes beef trim, and uses heat and a spinning process, to separate the fat. That lean product is then added to ground beef. It's been deemed safe by the USDA for years.
In the three months since the controversy came to light, the company shut down three of it's four plants.
Two websites have been launched to counter the negative info: Beef is Beef and People for the Truth, but a rural economist on Monday night's program said the damage has already been done.
Beef imports are skyrocketing and consumer prices have reached record highs, said Jim Robb.
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