“Pink Slime” redux – Beef Products, Inc. sues ABC News

Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News for defamation Thursday over its coverage of a meat product that critics dub “pink slime,” claiming the network misled consumers into believing it is unhealthy and unsafe.

The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based meat processor is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for roughly 200 “false and misleading and defamatory” statements about the product officially known as “lean, finely textured beef”…

The lawsuit filed in a South Dakota state court also names several individuals as defendants, including ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer and the Departure of Agriculture microbiologist who coined the term “pink slime”…

The reports cited in the lawsuit include 11 that aired on television and 14 that appeared online between March 7 and April 3.

Webb said the reports had “an enormous impact” on the company, forcing it to close three of its four U.S. plants and lay off more than 650 workers. Webb said the network also published a list of chain grocery stores that had stopped selling the product, and that this pressured others to end their business relationship with BPI.

Craig Letch, BPI’s director of food-quality assurance, said the company lost 80 percent of its business in 28 days.

Critics worried about the way the meat is processed. Bits of beef are heated and treated with a small amount of ammonia to kill bacteria, a practice that has been used for decades and meets federal food safety standards. The phrase “pink slime” began to spread after The New York Times cited it in a 2009 article on the safety of meat processing methods.

Soon afterward, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver began railing against it. McDonald’s and other fast food companies stopped using it, and major supermarket chains including Kroger and Stop & Shop vowed to stop selling beef with the low-cost product.

An online petition calling for the banning of the product from school menus drew hundreds of thousands of supporters.

I guess we’re supposed to feel sorry for these creeps, right? Stalwarts of an industry that cut wages in half over the past couple of decades – mostly by replacing citizens with undocumentados.

Meatpacking is an industry that relies on lobbyists to purchase politicians and bureaucrats to validate smarmy and innocuous names created by marketing mavens to replace more accurate descriptions of foodstuffs I wouldn’t feed a goat. They have never lobbied against practices like pumping cows full of antibiotics to encourage weight gain. They deserve as little respect as they get.

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