BEEF BATTLE: Some Blame Social Media

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The Iowa Beef Council says a smear campaign against a meat product costs the state jobs and money. It started last month after an investigative story about the product finely textured beef. A woman started a negative campaign against on the internet and called the beef "pink slime." Since then, hundreds of Iowans have lost their jobs and the Iowa Beef Council says if Iowans don't know the truth, it will happen to hundreds more.

Hundreds of meat lovers gathered downtown Des Moines to celebrate their love for *-beef at the Rare Affair. However, there's one kind you won't find here: finely textured beef.

Finely textured beef is made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts. The bits are heated to remove fat, then exposed to ammonia to kill bacteria.

“I know ammonia is a naturally occurring thing and all that but I really prefer not to eat it.”

However, the Iowa Beef industry says the process is 100% safe.

“It's a gas that actually raises PH and actually makes it safer. Ammonia reduces any chance of bacteria. It's a safe product,” says Nancy Degner of the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Degner says the attacks on finely textured beef are unfounded. She says the product keeps beef prices lower and gives cattle growers more money for their cattle. She blames social media for spreading lies and using the term "pink slime."

“It makes me stop and think how many people are affected by a quick first yucky term out in the media that has created so much fear and concern,” says Degner.

“That's where it started. If people weren't concerned about it it wouldn't have picked up any steam,” says Cleverly.

The Iowa Beef Industry says hundreds of Iowans lost their jobs, and the price of beef is increasing.

“It's a choice. Consumers should have a choice and it really adds safety and it’s much more affordable,” says Degner.

With so many cuts of meat for Iowans to choose from, the Iowa Beef Industry says you don't have to eat finely textured beef: they just want you to know the truth about how it's made.

Hy-Vee stores took the product off their shelves last month, but have since started selling it again.

Beef Products, Inc. suspended operations at a plant in Waterloo, affecting 220 jobs.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council fears if people aren't educated about the product more people will lose their jobs.

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