Beef Products Inc closing three plants after consumer backlash
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WASHINGTON, May 7, 2012- Beef Products Inc. announced it is permanently closing three plants, in Waterloo, Iowa; Garden City, Kans.; and Amarillo, Texas, due to consumer aversion to lean finely textured beef (LFTB), labeled “pink slime” in media reports. The South Sioux City, Neb., plant is expected to remain open at a reduced capacity.
“We will continue communicating the benefits of BPI's lean beef, but that process is much more difficult than the campaign to spread misinformation that brought us to this point,” stated BPI.
The plant closures are effective May 25 and will cost 650 jobs, a result of “unfounded and misguided attacks on our Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings,” according to the BPI press release.
The reports on “pink slime,” a term coined by a federal employee several years ago, led several grocery stores and schools to stop buying beef with the added trimmings. Consumers voiced concerns over being deceived about the purity of beef products.
“It's a real shame that a smear campaign of misinformation that neither accurately describes lean finely textured beef, nor is fair to the hard-working people who make it, is costing a lot of people their jobs today,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who noted that the company's process is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and poses no food safety concerns.
The BPI plant in Iowa employs more than 200 Iowans, said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in his statement today.
“Today they go home to their families and will soon be without a job, all because some media on the coasts decided to unfairly and viciously smear the product they so proudly produced,” Branstad said.
BPI stated that it continues “to stand by our lean beef as 100% wholesome, safe and nutritious,” and defend “against the mischaracterizations and irresponsible misrepresentations that led us to take these actions.”
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