Beef Products Inc. (BPI) has recently released a product that is described by the company as lean, finely, textured beef. Critics however have raised questions through various media outlets, including ABC News, Inc. about how the meat is processed and have dubbed the beef “Pink Slime”.
The Washington Post reports, the meat processing company responded to these media reports Thursday by suing ABC for defamation. Beef Products Inc. is seeking 1.2 billion in damages claiming ABC misled consumers in believing the beef was unhealthy and unsafe to eat.
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Besides ABC News, the defendants in the lawsuit are American Broadcasting Companies, ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer, as well as ABC correspondents Jim Avila and David Kerley. Also, the microbiologist who coined the now famous phrase ”pink slime”, Gerald Zirnstein is listed in the lawsuit, as well as Kit Foshee, who is a former quality assurance manager that was interviewed by ABC, and former federal food scientist, Carl Custer.
Although ABC wasn’t the only network to run critical stories on the beef product, or call the meat “Pink Slime,” the lawsuit claims that the network continually engaged in a month long vicious, concerted disinformation campaign against BPI.”
According to BPI’s Chicago based lawyer Dan Webb, the reports have caused the company to close three of its four plants, in addition to laying off 400 workers.
According to media law expert Patrick Garry, the Dakota Dunes, S.D. based meat processing company will have to prove ABC intended to cause harm.
“The media – regardless of your opinion of them – don’t usually print something that they know to be false,” Garry said. “It may be negligent, but usually there’s malic requirements to do so.”
The issue of whether the beef is lean and finely textured, or indeed “pink slime” has been going on for three years. It started when the New York Times quoted Zirnstein in a 2009 article. From there, the issue really took off when sadly a “celebrity” heard about it. Once celebrity chef Jamie Oliver started criticizing the beef, the entire country took note and the rest they say is history.
In order to change their existing image as a company that produces that nasty beef, BPI has gone on the public relations offensive, including building a website devoted to their lean and finely textured beef.
If this product truly is the “Pink Slime” ABC and other sources are accused of calling it, then perhaps it isn’t beef after all. Hmmm…if this is true, could it be possible that a particular fast food restaurant would be serving “Pink Slime” burgers in their new all veggie stores? Yes, I went there. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), as we previously reported, has opened a new line of all veggie stores in order to reach out to Vegan customers in India, who do not eat beef. While I personally am not sure as to the quality of the meat in question, I doubt that I will take a chance on purchasing and trying it out. After all, if ABC says so, it must be true, right? Nor, will you find me wolfing down a McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) veggie burger on my lunch break. I live in Texas, and we eat meat here, not “Pink Slime”.