A chief Siouxland employer is suspending operations at a number of plants across the country.
Beef Products Incorporated will cut back in Texas, Kansas and Iowa, but the South Sioux City plant will stay open.
The maker of lean finely textured beef, a type of ground beef, says these suspensions come after the company has taken criticism for that product.
Beef Products Incorporated announced it is completely suspending production at 3 plants.
The company's South Sioux plant is still running, but at lower production and fewer hours each week.
The company's co-owner says she doesn't know when or if operations will bounce back.
These suspensions come after the company's main product: lean finely textured beef or "LFTB," has been getting a lot of attention, especially through social media.
Some are calling the beef "pink slime," but BPI says that's nothing more than a myth.
"It's 100% beef, what do you want us to label it?" says Regina Roth, Co-Owner of Beef Products Incorporated. "I'm not prepared to say that it's anything other than beef, because it's 100% beef."
"LFTB" is made by taking pure beef trimmings, separating that from the fat and puffing it with ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria.
According to BPI LFTB has been served in 300 billion meals without a single case of E. coli.
"This is safe. This is what I feed to my children. This is what I feel comfortable with every one of you feeding to your children, and you know, the Sioux City Schools, they should have this in their ground beef, and there's going to be a lot of schools next year that will have this in their ground beef, because we've been in the school lunch program for 14 years," says Mike Hesse, Director of Sales for Beef Products Incorporated. "Fourteen years in the school lunch program, and there's no issues."
The company says their product fills a need.
If LFTB stopped being produced it would take 1.5 million additional cows every year to fill the gap.
"We say we are a nutritious safe product, we have all the evidence on our side, while there's a lot of dollars and cents involved in this, there's also the matter of the integrity of this company and the product we've produced for years," says Roth.
For now the company's fighting back, just hoping consumers see the need for lean finely textured beef.
BPI is starting a grass roots campaign to let customers know more about LFTB.
BPI will use social media to get this done, and the company even launched a new web site: www.beefisbeef.com