Beef Products Inc. (BPI), manufacturer of "lean finely textured beef," aka "pink slime," announces it will shut down three of its four plants on May 25. The plants destined for closure are in Amarillo, TX; Garden City, KS; and Waterloo, IA. The one remaining facility is in South Sioux City, NE and will operate at reduced capacity. More than 650 workers will lose their jobs, according to BPI. More at Food Safety News. BPI has a "pro-pink-slime" website here: beefisbeef.com.

64 Responses to “Maker of Pink Slime to close 3 out of 4 plants, fire 650 employees”

  1. fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

    So, how long before the first video clip of a loathsomely smug talking head going on about how people who find ammoniated beef distasteful are whining job-killers?

  2. Navin_Johnson says:

    I figured as much:

    But David Knowles, the journalist who kick-started the recent round of ‘pink slime’ media coverage for the iPad newspaper The Daily, said that BPI’s profits were in danger long before he ever wrote about the product.

    “As I point out in the article I just filed that will appear in Tuesday’s issue of The Daily, the thing that really started the ball rolling on this was McDonald’s, Burger King’s and Taco Bell’s decision to drop BPI’s product,” Knowles told Food Safety News. “That happened months before my reporting, and represented a huge hit to their business.”

    ABC News senior correspondent Jim Avila is credited with bringing the ‘pink slime’ story to a national audience during a March 7 report on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. He blamed BPI’s tendency toward secrecy and nondisclosure as their real downfall.

    “It was consumer reaction to a policy that said, ‘You don’t deserve to know what is in your burger’ that sunk BPI,” Avila told Food Safety News. “BPI continually told me and consumers, ‘You just don’t understand how hamburger is made,’ but clearly the shoppers understood how they didn’t want it made.”

    “No one wants job losses and I do feel bad about lost jobs, but their anger is misdirected,” Avila went on. “It was BPI policy and slow reaction to the changing world of social media that caused the shutdowns.”

    • ocker3 says:

       Yup, “Trust Us” no longer works, for good reason, too many people who said that turned out to be untrustworthy. Having accurate ingredients on food just makes so much sense, for so many reasons.

  3. Cowicide says:

    In udder news….  Fat Future: 42% of Americans May Be Obese by 2030

    Maybe this will put a small dent in that?

    • bcsizemo says:

      I’m not really worried about America’s beef consumption.  I’m more worried about our fries/onion rings/cheese sticks/ect..  consumption.  When your more popular side items have as many calories as the main course then there is a problem.

    • Moriarty says:

      How would it do that?

  4. voiceinthedistance says:

    “Finely textured beef”.  If it can be poured, I’d really rather not think of it as “beef” any longer.

  5. Maverick says:

    By all means, let us use as little as possible of the animals we raise for food.

    • Cowicide says:

      How will we ever survive without putting pink slime in food?

    • Navin_Johnson says:

       It’s a shame it got *banned* right?

    • Shinkuhadoken says:

       There will always be a place for pink slime… in dog food.

      • C W says:

        What place does it have there, either?

        • Shinkuhadoken says:

          Dogs don’t have the same dietary requirements as humans? Pink slime was originally developed for use in dog food? Dogs will avoid food that doesn’t provide the essential amino acids they need? Not wasting any part of a cow that is already energy intensive to produce seems like the least you could do to be more responsible with said energy use? Pink slime comes from meat extracted off bones, and what was that thing dogs like to chew on? Could it be bones?

          • niktemadur says:

            Often, I get the craving for cow’s stomach and hoof cartilages in a soup with white corn, it’s called “menudo”.  The amount of protein and the vitamin-B complex there is off the charts.

            Or a proper bone marrow soup, preferably with a few bits of brain floating around like wet crumbled croutons.  Now that’s a bit trickier, the highest concentrations of cholesterol in the body are precisely in the bone marrow and the brain.  So it shouldn’t be had too often.

            Anyway, there’s nastier stuff in a Big Mac, and hidden.

      • niktemadur says:

        From what I understand, the government requirements for pet food are usually stricter than for humans, the reasoning being that an adult human can choose for him/herself (Chicken McNuggets every day, or salami if you want), but a pet cannot, free will and all that comes into play, so they must be protected as a child’s powdered milk must also be, for example.  An enlightened view, it must be said.

    • Robert says:

      Personally, I find the ready-wrapped fecal dumplings the best part of animals.

    • willyboy says:

      Closer the bone, the better the meat.

  6. BBNinja says:

    I don’t know who would have the gall to complain that Americans not being willing to eat “meat parts” soaked in Ammonia are killing American jobs with their selfishness but I’m sure it will be someone on Fox News.

    • EH says:

      Banning torture puts many highly-trained military and law enforcement workers out on the street.

      • BBNinja says:

        Well, I never got “torture” classes from the military but if anything with all the recent news of repeated police brutality resulting in zero charges (unless you count charging the victim with assault for damaging the policemen’s knuckles with their faces) I would think that would actually get you a job.

  7. Coderjoe says:

    Yes, let’s use less of the meat in the animals for food, throwing it away. At the same time, let’s put more fat in what we do use.

    Also, what is with the quotes around  lean finely textured beef? Perhaps we need to drink more “water” or “dihydrogen monoxide” as well, especially after overindulging in “ethanol”.

    • EH says:

      And let’s charge the same amount for amoonia-slime mcnuggets as pure meat ones!

    • C W says:

      “At the same time, let’s put more fat in what we do use.”

      From what cloth did you craft that statement?

    • voiceinthedistance says:

      Coderjoe asks:  ”Also, what is with the quotes around  lean finely textured beef?”
      eu·phe·mism/ˈyo͞ofəˌmizəm/
      Noun:A mild or indirect word or expression for one too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.

  8. foobar says:

    Uh oh. I know how this movie ends.

  9. Robert says:

    They discovered a cheaper source in China, didn’t they.

  10. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    If this leads to an animal product being wasted because someone gave it a nasty name then it’s a shame.  If you looked at how that’s made compared to hot dogs, sausage and bologna I doubt there’s much difference.  But shunning Pink Slime allows people to feel marginally more fastidious about their dietary habits.

  11. Joshua Ochs says:

    In this corner! Liberals who hate overly-processed semi-artificial food!

    In the other corner! Liberals who hate waste and want to be better stewards of the planet!

    FIGHT!

    • Navin_Johnson says:

       If this only bothered “liberals” you can be sure that all those fast food restaurants would still be using it.

    • Petzl says:

      Don’t be hatin’ on liberals.  At least they don’t force the bible into science textbooks, nor force trans-vaginal probes on anyone.

      • Joshua Ochs says:

        The ironic thing is I *am* a liberal. This is just an amusing case of a wedge issue between different liberal groups.

  12. arcfinn says:

     Sorry folks, but I didn’t cry when the telemarketers lost their jobs to “do not call” either. The free market reigns doesn’t it? Well, the market has decided that this product, which people were sort of “tricked” into eating in the first place, is not commercially viable. At least not with full disclosure. 

  13. Oscar Sanchez Santana says:

    every 3 seconds someone dies of hunger in Africa…meanwhile back in the USA …

    • C W says:

      Due less to lack of food than lack of AVAILABILITY of food. “Simplistic” problems have complicated answers.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

       No, I think I see your excellent, logical argument:  They should move these plants to Africa!  Problem solved!

  14. Gaby Abed says:

    Awwww….too bad, so sad…NEXT!

  15. corydodt says:

    Man, I’m kinda on their side. As long as it contains the same nutrition and tastes pretty much the same as the “good” beef, it is a valuable part of our food supply, is it not?

    Pink slime makes it possible to use more of the cow. By driving out pink slime, aren’t we just wasting more of the cow? That doesn’t seem very green to me.

    • bja009 says:

      No no no, see, we’re green when it’s convenient, but we’re wasteful when the alternative makes us queasy. And not only wasteful in our own lives, but wasteful as a matter of public policy. Ban stuff with gross nicknames!
      (I’m with Maggie: I can’t get outraged about this. http://boingboing.net/2012/03/29/pink-slime-in-the-context-of-h.html

      • Navin_Johnson says:

        Hey guys, welcome to the new “green” where you gobble up anything that corporate meat giants send your way.  Especially when they’ve gone out of the way to prevent you from knowing what you’re getting.  

        Be “Green” eat more giant corporate meat!  While you’re at it, insist on having corn frankensteined into everything you eat.  Wouldn’t want to waste any of the subsidized corporate food!

        • bja009 says:

          Hey look, an argument!

          No wait, sorry, I didn’t have my glasses on. It’s just a screed.

          Seriously, I’m not sure what your point is. If a corporation reduces waste, that’s bad? If I started a mom-and-pop that produced ‘pink slime’, it would be okay with you? And who said anything about corn, other than you?

          Make a point, here. Is it dangerous, or just icky? Do you have an objection other than ‘ew, gross!’?

          Nice use of the loaded and totally unrelated ‘frankenstein’ term too. Bonus internets for using it as a verb. (Seriously, bonus internets for that, I haven’t seen it before.)

          Sigh… I should know better than to argue on the internet. Beer time.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I’m sorry. Did you snark at someone and then have a hissy when somebody snarked back at you?

          • beepbeep says:

             Well, no one seems to have made the point here so I will. Is it dangerous? That seems to be quite possible since getting the last of that meat off the bone tends to also get nerve tissue off too. My guess would be that THAT was what was causing McDonald’s, et al, to quit using the product. They were probably very wary of law suits down the road.

    • penguinchris says:

      Maybe most people didn’t notice until it was pointed out, but pink slime has always bothered me. I’m not typically too picky of an eater, but I’m not a fan of slimy textures (it’s not the taste, it’s the texture/mouthfeel). 

      I have many vague memories of the slimy, unfortunate burgers my mom would make. I don’t know how long pink slime has been in common use but I remember it being there as a kid and I’m 25 now.

      I don’t believe that there’s absolutely no use for this stuff, or that we shouldn’t try to use the whole animal. But it doesn’t belong in regular ground beef – not from a safety standpoint, but because it noticeably lowers the quality and the ultimate enjoyment of the beef.

  16. ocker3 says:

    Why weren’t all those Pro-’re-textured beef’ people speaking up in past articles? I wonder if they’re new here, or perhaps came here for a certain purpose?

    At some point during the slaughtering process you’re left with stuff that’s just too dirty or dangerous to put into the food supply, it should be thrown out, fed to dogs, turned into fertiliser, etc., not put into human food with a new name.

    • Coderjoe says:

      Yes, I’m a beef industry sock puppet. I have, in no way, been reading boingboing for several years, nor commented on other stories. </sarcasm>

      Perhaps they were busy elsewhere when those other articles were published. I know I was. I just don’t agree with shunning something just because it seems gross or someone gave it an icky-sounding nickname.

  17. jwkrk says:

    Waterloo, Iowa; pink slime plant closing; home of John Wayne Gacy.

    There’s a connection there, I just can’t put my finger on it…

    (Waterloo is my home town, too.  No relation.)

  18. purple-stater says:

    Loving all the “how dare they not tell us what’s in our food” comments.  They told you; bovine parts.  Perfectly safe, reasonably healthy, bovine parts.

    But 650 jobs are gone from an economy that was already hurting, because of the icky factor.

    If you don’t like a little ammonia spray on your meat, how do you feel about formaldehyde?  You’ll find it in smoked meats, as well as most canned beer and soda.

  19. Deidzoeb says:

    They took our jaerbs!!!

  20. jhertzli says:

    I’m annoyed at the way those wimps used ammonia as a disinfectant instead of honest gamma rays.

  21. jhertzli says:

    I’m annoyed at the way those wimps used ammonia as a disinfectant instead of honest gamma rays.

  22. Ant says:

    Ghostbusters 2!

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