Maker of Pink Slime to close 3 out of 4 plants, fire 650 employees

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:



  1. 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. 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.”

    1.  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.

    1. 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.

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

      1. Maybe it should be:  No pink slime stew for you!
        Pink slime Stroganoff.  Pink slime Wellington.
        Pink slime tataki (uh, that’s a nasty one).

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

        1. 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?

          1. 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.

      1. 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.

  5. 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.

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

      1. 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.

        1. “Well, I never got “torture” classes from the military”

          Obviously, nobody else has.

  6. 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”.

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

      From what cloth did you craft that statement?

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!


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

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

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

  9.  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. 

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

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

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

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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.

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

          2.  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.

    2. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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.)

  14. 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.

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

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

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