Meat Producer Sues ABC over Pink Slime Accusations
The maker of “pink slime” is suing ABC News for its news stories on the meat filler, claiming the “false” information has ruined demand.
Beef Products Inc. says its “lean, finely textured beef” is safe and healthy to consume. But ABC News’ coverage and its allegedly 200 “false and misleading and defamatory” statements about pink slime resulted in the loss of 80% of the company’s business. The company says that if has also laid off 700 employees.
The South Dakota-based meat processor wants $1.2 billion in damages from the network, which was named a defendant along with reporter Diane Sawyer and Gerald Zirnstein, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) microbiologist who coined the term pink slime in 2002. Beef Products chose ABC to sue because of its “sustained, concerted, long-duration attack.”
Some grocery stores and fast food chains have stopped using meat that contains the filler. Some of the opposition began before the ABC News stories that ran in March. Three years ago The New York Times published a story that mentioned pink slime.
USDA officials say pink slime is safe to eat. However, the agency also says most states participating in its National School Lunch Program have opted out of using ground beef that contains the filler.
“Lean, finely textured beef” is made of low-grade trimmings that are more susceptible to contamination, such as exposure to fecal matter. To make the meat safe to consume, Beef Products Inc. cooks the trimmings, separates out the fat, and sprays the meat with ammonia hydroxide gas to kill germs.
To Learn More:
Producer of ‘Pink Slime’ Textured Beef Suing ABC and ABC News (by Tim Carman, Washington Post)
Meat Processor Sues ABC News, Diane Sawyer for $1.2 Billion (by Grant Schulte and Kristi Eaton, Associated Press)
Safeway, SUPERVALU and Food Lion to Stop Selling 'Pink Slime' Beef (by Jim Avila, ABC News)
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