Branstad seeks Congressional probe on 'pink slime'

By MIKE GLOVER | April 2, 2012 | 1:35 PM EDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The governor of Iowa says he wants a Congressional investigation into how what he called "a smear campaign" against the meat product commonly called "pink slime" got started.

The company that makes the product known in the industry as lean, finely textured beef announced last week that it would stop production at plants in Iowa, Kansas and Texas, affecting 650 jobs.

It announced the shutdown after an online petition started by a Houston blogger resulted in the U.S. Department of Agriculture saying it would give schools the option of choosing ground beef without the product starting in the fall.

The spokesman for Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday the Republican has received $150,000 in campaign donations from people tied to Beef Products Inc. over the past two years.