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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce… double the ammonia

By Lynda Waddington | 12.31.09 | 3:19 pm

A meat processing company with strong ties to Iowa and the Midwest is the subject of a front page investigative report in today’s New York Times.

Beef Products Inc., better known locally by its BPI initials, is taken to task in the report filed by journalist Michael Moss for its use of ammonia to ready otherwise little-used beef trimmings for human consumption. The process, which the company has referred to as “pH enhancement,” was shown by a company-commissioned study and an Iowa State University study to be efficient to kill E. coli and other bacteria that is often present in those specific trimming sections.

“Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture endorsed the company’s ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli ‘to an undetectable level.’ They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat using in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products,” wrote Moss.

In the summer of 2007 one Waterloo BPI plant worker lost her life, another was severely injured and five others suffered minor injuries requiring emergency room treatment when an ammonia leak forced the shut down of the plant and neighboring plants. BPI settled with the Iowa Division of Labor for $648,000 as a result of the incident. A contracting crew working on the ammonia pipes in the plant at the time of the leak was also fined and reached a settlement.

The processed trimmings produced by BPI are used as a component in the hamburgers sold by many of the county’s fast-food giants, including McDonald’s and Burger King. It is also used as a component by grocery stores, the National School Lunch Program and other government agencies, such as correctional institutions.

But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment. Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays.

BPI operates plants in Iowa (Waterloo), Nebraska (South Sioux City), Kansas (Finney County), South Dakota (Dakota Dunes) and Texas (Amarillo). The company is headquartered in South Dakota, and was founded by Eldon N. Roth, a man who also has ties to Iowa’s renewable energy sector.

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