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Concannon doesn’t watch Jamie Oliver

Kevin Concannon

Kevin Concannon

Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said today that he has not seen the video of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver showing the ingredients in the “lean finely textured beef product” also known as “pink slime.”

On the sidelines of an anti-hunger event, Concannon told The Hagstrom Report, “I have never seen anything that Jamie Oliver has done. I pride myself on that.”

Concannon added that he considers lean finely textured beef product to be safe, lean and cheaper than some other ingredients used to make hamburger. Concannon noted, however, that USDA has given school districts a choice about whether or not to buy meat that includes the lean textured beef treated with ammonia for food safety reasons. Schools have been buying about 60 percent of their beef through USDA, Concannon said.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also repeated today his statements that lean finely textured beef product is “is beef, is safe, has less fat.”

But he also noted to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee that the agency will offer schools a choice because “several hundred school districts have asked for choice.”

He added, “We want to make sure if they make that choice, it is on the facts.”