Business, Economics and Jobs

Former Beef Products employee sues Jamie Oliver, ABC for pink slime coverage


SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 24: A stack of ground beef patties moves on a conveyor belt at a meat packing and distribution facility June 24, 2008 in San Francisco, California.


Justin Sullivan

It's all about what the consumer wants! Unless the consumer doesn't want your product anymore. That's when you start suing people.

After television personality Jamie Oliver and others began publicizing "pink slime," a finely textured beef made from leftover meat scraps and ammonium hydroxide to kill the E.Coli, fast food companies and other business bowed to consumer demand and stopped using the product.

The resulting backlash cut production at pink slime maker Beef Products Inc. by more than half. The company laid off 750 employees. Bruce Smith was one of those employees who lost their jobs, and he is now suing Jamie Oliver, along with ABC News, anchor Diane Sawyer, and food blogger Bettina Siegel, the Daily Telegraph reported today. He is accusing them of "dissemination of untrue facts and misinformation" about Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB).

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Smith, who is also a licensed attorney, is suing for $70,000, KSFY reported

Beef Products Inc. itself has already filed lawsuits in September against Jamie Oliver, ABC and a microbiologist.

That same company was the first beef company to come up with the idea to inject ammonia into beef, the New York Times reported in 2009. They got the idea because beef trimmings are particularly prone to pathogens. But the Times investigation revealed that ammonia might not actually work so well, reporting at the time: "E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat." Perhaps Beef Products can sue the Times too.