Romney donor founded company that produces ‘pink slime’

Laura E. Davis
March 30, 2012

The founder of the main manufacturer of "pink slime," the ammonia-treated beef byproduct that's the focus of a national controversy, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups supporting Mitt Romney's presidential ambitions, Politico reports.

According to the Washington Post, Eldon Roth and his wife, Regina, cut checks totaling $190,000 to several Romney state-level PACs in 2010 as the former Massachusetts governor laid the groundwork for his 2012 campaign.

Roth has also donated to other GOP candidates, including former presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty and Sen. John Thune, who represents South Dakota, where Roth's company, Beef Products Inc., is based.

But the Roths aren't strict partisans when it comes to their political contributions. FEC records show that while they have given more than $100,000 to Republican groups since 1999, they've also given nearly $76,000 to Democratic-affiliated candidates and organizations.

BPI has been under fire lately as criticism of "pink slime," which the U.S. Agriculture Department says is safe, has grown after several news reports about its use in fast food and school lunches — and a push by chef Jamie Oliver to get it out of the U.S. food supply. McDonald's decided to stop putting it in its hamburgers last August, and in March the USDA said schools don't have to use it in their lunch programs.

The company is pushing back hosting a tour of its meat plant in South Sioux City, Neb., on Thursday. It was attended by three beef-industry-friendly governors, including former presidential candidate Rick Perry.

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