Public outrage over the ammonia-tainted ground beef dubbed "pink slime" has prompted Beef Products Inc to try in redeeming the image of their battered product by arranging a surreal press conference attended by three state governors and Elizabeth Hagen, head of food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The governors of Iowa, Texas and Kansas where BPI plants are located spoke on the media's "smear campaign" and potential job losses in their states while the USDA's representative spoke in defense of the product's safety and its inclusion in the federal school lunch program - the point that sparked the public row. T-shirts with BPI logo and the seemingly innocuous and catchy slogan: "Dude, it's beef" was printed to counter the negative imagery of pink slime. Bringing the state governors and a USDA official to a press conference shows the enormous power that the industry commands, as ABC reporter Jim Avila asked Governor Branstad, whether his support for BPI was influenced by the $150,000 he recieved in campaign donations from the company? This attracted a very vehement and salient response. Pink slime is now banned from school lunches and major supermarkets have stopped selling them and this raises the importance of why Americans should know what is in their food.
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