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Beef Prices Will Soar Following BPI Fallout

6:10 AM, Apr 2, 2012   |    comments
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AMARILLO, TEXAS -- The fallout from a microbiologist coining Beef Products Inc. filler "pink slime" has caused a huge public outcry.

The USDA says that beef product is safe for all consumers.

But now, KVII explains, we're all going to feel it's effects in our pocket book.

Since BPI has suspended many of its operations, including in Amarillo, experts say hamburger prices will go up three to 25 cents per pound.

That's because the industry is already seeing its lowest herd numbers since 1955 due to the drought.

Now, it needs 1.5 million head more to keep up with demand.

"Ground beef has kind of been a staple especially during the economic recession that we've seen because it was affordable. But now with media reports and social media rumors concerning lean, finely textured beef, we're going to see that price increase because of lack of supply," said Kristen Brown, Communications Manager at Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

BPI Monday announced it was suspending operations of three of its four plants.

That, after a microbiologist coined the beef filled "pink slime", calling it unappetizing bits of cartilage and chemically treated scraps of meat.

But this week, political leaders, including Texas Governor Rick Perry and the USDA, publicly rallied around BPI.

"It's safe, wholesome, nutritious and you can just feel confident that it's a good source of protein," said Brown.

As far as the city having 200 people without jobs, the mayor is hoping the company bounces back.

"We hope it's a temporary closure. We hope those 209 jobs are renewed and that people get the real facts, the science and technology behind this and see that it is not a problem," said Mayor Paul Harpole, City of Amarillo.

"I think someone giving it a derogatory name has caused a panic and obviously when people are concerned about safety and I hope the free market place has some sense about it and we get back to normalcy and those people have a job again," said Mayor Harpole.

After speaking with Perry Thursday, Harpole says right now, the governor has no plans to visit Amarillo's facility.

BPI says they hope to be up and running soon. They also have hopes to restore consumer confidence by educating the public.

The company has launched a social media campaign on a website called, "Beef is Beef".

ABC KVII-TV

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