Texas Tech Professor & ‘Pink Slime’ Denier Tapped by President Trump for Ag Position
President Trump recently nominated Mindy Brashears to oversee food safety for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mrs. Brashears is a professor, researcher, and food scientist with a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University. However, some are saying her appointment could be a conflict of interest.
Mindy Brashears is a professor and the Director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech, and has served as an industry expert testifying in some pretty big cases for the ag industry, mainly pork and beef producers. She was an expert witness in the enormous "pink slime" case against ABC, where the news network claimed that "lean finely-textured beef" was "pink slime."
Lean finely-textured beef is fatty trimmings from beef that was once relegated to pet food and cooking oil...until a South Dakota company found that they could use it as filler for hamburger. Major corporations, including at the time McDonald's and Burger King, as well as American school districts, started to buy it for the drastically reduced price.
The trimmings are particularly susceptible to bacterial contamination, so the production company created an ammonia injection process to kill the bacteria.
Here's the original ABC News report, which is no longer available on the ABC website:
In the case against ABC for calling LFTB "pink slime," Ms. Brashears testified for Beef Products Inc. that the trimmings were safe to eat. The case was eventually settled out of court.
Now, President Trump has tapped her to oversee food safety for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a nomination that some claim would be a conflict of interest. Ms. Brashears holds numerous patents on food decontamination.
On the surface, this looks like a good idea, but some claim a conflict due to her being able to enrich herself through her patents in a regulatory position overseeing food decontamination.
Still others claim a conflict of interest due to her testimony on behalf of beef and pork producers in court cases including the "pink slime" trial. Her closeness to the industry could potentially be seen as influencing any decisions she makes to regulate an industry that she has personal financial ties to.
This will turn out to be an interesting process as we wait to see whether she gets confirmed for a position that has been empty since 2013.