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Gov. Sam Brownback: ‘Pink Slime’ Is Perfectly Safe

Friday, 30 Mar 2012 | 7:43 PM ET
BERLIN - JULY 31: Cuts of beef and pork lie in a display counter at a supermarket July 30, 2007 in Berlin, Germany. According to media reports July 31, 2007 Gerd Sonnleitner, head of the German Farmers' Association, has called for a nationwide rise in prices of meat, especially beef and pork, and is predicting an overall rise in the price of groceries in Germany. Milk and dairy products prices in Germany have already risen in recent days by as much as 50 percent. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Imag
Getty Images
BERLIN - JULY 31: Cuts of beef and pork lie in a display counter at a supermarket July 30, 2007 in Berlin, Germany. According to media reports July 31, 2007 Gerd Sonnleitner, head of the German Farmers' Association, has called for a nationwide rise in prices of meat, especially beef and pork, and is predicting an overall rise in the price of groceries in Germany. Milk and dairy products prices in Germany have already risen in recent days by as much as 50 percent. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Imag

Pink slime” — officially called “lean finely textured beef” — is getting a bum rap, Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday.

“It’s absolutely safe,” the Kansas governor said. “I ate a hamburger last night that had this trimmed beef in it. You’ve been eating it. I’ve been eating it for years. There is not a case, there has not been reported any single case of any sort of health issue with this product whatsoever.”

Brownback made his most recent comments about the agricultural controversy on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.”

“Pink slime” became part of the lexicon several weeks ago after TV celebrity chef Jamie Oliver told an audience what went into making the foodstuff, saying that it was what went into dog food.

Where's the Beef?
Gov. Sam Brownback, (R-KS), says lean and finely textured beef is a safe nutritious product.

The publicity sparked an outcry against unlabeled addition of LFTB to ground beef, leading major supermarket chains such as Kroger, Safeway and Food Lion to stop selling it. McDonald’s also announced last month that it would stop using “pink slime.”

This week, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” also tackled the topic. In a segment titled, “The Hunger Shame,” Stewart offered some suggestions, such as making burgers 15 percent smaller or just take the “pink slime” out — until he found out that 200 people at the factory that makes the product would lose their jobs.

“We're a pink slime-based economy!” Stewart quipped.

On Thursday, Brownback along with Rick Perry of Texas and Terry Branstad of Iowa visited the Beef Products Inc. processing plant in South Sioux City, Neb., in support of meat producers.

“As we were saying yesterday, ‘It’s beef, dude.’ That’s what this is. It’s beef,” he said.

Brownback gave host Larry Kudlow his explanation of what goes into the maligned meat.

“Larry, when you buy a steak, you probably trim the edges of it a little bit and you miss a little bit of the meat on it, and you throw that away,” he said. “What the industry has done is find a way to get that piece of meat back.”

Brownback also defended the chemicals used in the making of LFTB, saying they were not dangerous.

“It’s not at all, and it’s in a whole bunch of products,” he said. “It’s in beer. It’s in cheese.”

The governor said he would like to see purveyors rethink their opposition to the meat product.

“I think we contact them and we ask them, ‘Just please, please look at the actual facts of this case.’ This is a quality meat product. It is treated by ammonia or citric acid to prevent E. coli, which you don’t want in this product. And it’s been a safe product for 20 years.

“This is a safe, wholesome product that’s certified by USDA inspectors,” he said.

Brownback Avoids Endorsing Romney

Just as Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., avoided pledging his support for Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney a day earlier, Brownback also dodged the issue.

“I’m endorsing the KU Jayhawks right now,” he said.

College basketball teams from Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Kansas will face off in the NCAA Final Four tournament on Saturday.

Pressed again for an answer, Brownback demurred.

“We’ll see. Larry, I want to see us win the presidency in the fall,” he said. “We’ll see how the process moves on forward.”

Tune in:

"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.

Questions? Comments, send your emails to: lkudlow@kudlow.com

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  • Lawrence Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor. Previously, Kudlow was anchor of CNBC's prime-time program "The Kudlow Report"