Jamie Oliver along with Diane Sawyer and ABC is being sued by a former employee of Beef Products Inc.
Bruce Smith was retrenched by Beef Inc following the furore over “Pink Slime” following the broadcast by ABC of a Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolutiom in which he exposed the technology employed in produced what was labelled “Pink Slime” and the investigative news reports that followed.
Pink Slime is known in the industry as lean beef trimmings which are made up of the remnants of a cow carcass once all the muscular cuts have been removed.
The lean meat is separated from the fat using a centrifuge and because the meat is coming from areas of the cow which are more likely to be infected with microbes it is treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill the microbes off. It removes pathogens like salmonella and E.coli.
Beef Products Inc. closed down three plants earlier in the year in Texas, Kansas and Iowa in addition to laying off staff it’s headquarters in South Dakota.
The lawsuit names as defendants American Broadcasting Companies, Inc, ABC News, ABC News journalists Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila, Oliver, food blogger Bettina Siegel and ten unnamed defendants.
The plaintiff claims that the defendants knowingly and recklessly made untrue statements about the product during newscasts.
Defendant Oliver proceeded to use his celebrity chef media notoriety to place pressure on American fast food company McDonald’s, and others, to immediately stop using LFTB ground beef in its retail menu food products
McDonald’s and other major fast food chains stopped using the product following the broadcast of the show and the public uproar that followed.
Beef Products Inc has already commenced a lawsuit against ABC News, Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila for defamation over its coverage of the product.
The Beef Products Inc. lawsuit is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.
Bruse Smith who was the companies senior counsel and Director of Environment, Health & Safety is only seeking $70,000 in damages, which keeps the lawsuit in the local Dakota County District Court in Nebraska.
If I sued for more, I would likely be forced to move the case to federal court in Omaha, Neraska. I want the people I have sued. I want them here in the locality where the damage is done
Beef Products Inc. said the company lost 80 percent of its business in 28 days. Some of the customers have returned but BPI still doesn’t have the customer base that would allow it to rehire former employees.