BPI closes three plants permanently

by Keith Nunes
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DAKOTA DUNES, SD – Beef Products Inc., the manufacturer of lean, finely textured beef, also called “pink slime” in the media, is permanently closing three manufacturing facilities effective May 25. The three facilities are located in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa. The company cited decreased demand for its products as the reason for the closings.

BPI will keep its facility in South Sioux City, Neb., open, but it will be run at reduced capacity.

The company suspended operations at the three plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa as media attention focused on lean, finely textured beef grew and customers stopped using the product. The company had hoped once the media attention on the product was reduced it could reopen the three facilities.

“This is a sad day for the state of Iowa,” said Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa. “The fact that a false, misleading smear campaign can destroy a company’s reputation overnight should disturb us all. My office will never stop fighting for every single job in this state, and I continue to hope that as consumers learn about this safe, healthy and lean product, they will understand what a great product lean, finely textured beef truly is.

“Unfortunately, we have learned that what a ruinous smear campaign accomplishes overnight can take years to correct. I want those workers who now face the daunting task of finding a new job to know that my administration will always fight for them. 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.”

BPI said 650 people will lose their jobs as a result of the three facility closings.

"News that 650 BPI employees will permanently lose their jobs due to a manufactured controversy about lean finely textured beef (LFTB) this spring is both tragic and avoidable," said J. Patrick Boyle, president and chief executive officer of the American Meat Institute. "The amount of coverage that media outlets, with ABC World news leading the pack,  focused on a safe and inspected product is without precedent.  Hundreds of families now face unemployment and millions more pay higher prices for lean beef in the grocery store. 

"Government and scientists have affirmed that lean finely textured beef is safe and nutritious," Boyle added. "The facts about the product got lost in the frenzy and a company and the communities in which it operates  will suffer permanent damage. The company’s goal has been to harness technology towards a safe and lean product that prevented the waste of a wholesome lean beef, and the loss of their operations jobs are a needless tragedy."

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