The Case Against the Pink Slime

A meat processing company has filed a lawsuit in South Dakota over claims that an ABC News Reporting story qualifies as libel. In this report, the news agency called a product made by Beef Products Inc (BPI) “pink slime.”

The fast food industry calls this stuff “lean, finely-textured beef.”

BPI is now saying that the ABC should be considered a “disinformation campaign,” and that this effort has resulted in the meat processor’s revenue dropping by 80 percent. As such, BPI is suing ABC for upwards of $5.7 billion, in damages.

At a hearing in January, a BPI lawyer told the judge that the ABC story is “fake news.” And in this report, court documents list that ABC’s Jim Avila actually spoke the term “pink slime” 137 times.

But what, exactly, is pink slime?

BPI explains that the product—which, again, they call “lean, finely-textured beef”—contains beef trimmings which have been placed in a centrifuge. This process serves to separate the lean meat from the fat; after which, the lean meat is treated with ammonia to remove any bacteria. The term was first coined by Gerald Zimstein. The former US Department of Agriculture scientist originally used the term in an email to his colleagues, in 2002.

These processed trimmings were once commonly found in fast-food beef patties served at franchises like Burger King, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell. It was also common to beef products sold in grocery stores, many of which stopped selling the products after the initial airing of the ABC report. And, after the report, BPI—whose primary revenue comes from manufacturing and selling the beef trimmings product—closed three of its four production facilities.

Of course, ABC lawyers argue that the report is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which ensures freedom of speech and, more importantly, free press. The network—which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, if you didn’t know—is arguing that BPI has to prove that ABC’s reporters acted deliberately, with “actual malice” in order to harm the company’s reputation.

Cattle Buyers Weekly publisher, Steve Kay, opines that ABC’s story “by most standards of responsible journalism [appears] to be distorted and biased and extremely unreasonable.”

In response, ABC lawyer Kevin Baine comments, “We believe in the principle that people deserve to know what’s in the food they eat and are confident that when all the facts are presented in court, ABC’s reporting will be fully vindicated.”

One Response

  1. Terry Singeltary says:

    “lean, finely textured beef,” an inexpensive ground beef additive made up of waste beef trimmings that have been heated, spun in a centrifuge, and doused with ammonia to reduce bacteria is pink slime looking, so what’s the big deal? as far as mad cow disease, usda et have lied like a dog with no tail about that for 20 years, now we have cwd running rampant in the USA, cannot be stopped. just last month or so science shows that cwd transmit to pigs and macaque by oral transmission. wait, but there’s more. i lost my mother to hvCJD, confirmed, and science has now linked typical and atypical BSE, and sporadic CJD in humans, 85%+ of all human tse prion disease. IF we let corporate America and our find federal friends (two of the same) dictate what we are able to speak of, and this case all true, then every dead soldier that died for this Country for nothing…the ag gag laws are nothing more than a muzzle on the public for speaking out, and that’s what they do in third world communist countries.

    TUESDAY, JUNE 06, 2017


    MONDAY, MAY 29, 2017

    Canada CCA optimistic over potential for revisions to OIE criteria for BSE negligible risk

    Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

Leave a Reply