An animal scientist by the name of Mindy Brashears at Texas Tech (30,000 students on a big research campus in Lubbock) has been nominated by the Trump administration to run the Department of Agriculture’s food safety program. Who she? And how would she even come to the attention of the pols who run Ag?
Turns out she’s kinda high profile. While she’s been conducting academic research into food safety over the last six years, she’s been paid over $300,000 by five companies, including Cargil (grain), Merck (pharmaceuticals), Perdue (chickens). Her research was not entirely random, either; she developed a “cattle probiotic” as well as the substance the industry refers to as FTB: finely textured beef. (It’s the gummy goo that food processors scrape from bones and hides.) She was, in fact, the plaintiff’s leading expert witness in a beef manufacturer’s defamation lawsuit against ABC News for characterizing FTB as, um, “pink slime.”
Then there’s Brashears half-million dollar stake in a device called MicroZap that’s designed to kill harmful bacteria in food with “directed microwaves.” (I know the feeling.)
No question the country needs scientists who understand food safety. Trouble is, some of them are working for the opposition. And those are precisely the ones our Rancher in Chief wants to see guarding the feedlots..
Texas Observer has more about Dr. Brashears here.