Cargill announces new labeling for finely textured beef
Last week, Cargill Inc. announced plans to begin labeling beef products that contain finely textured beef, a product once dubbed “pink slime” through media outlets, and still the origin of an ongoing lawsuit between Beef Products Inc. (BPI) and ABC News.
Cargill will begin labeling the product prior to the 2014 grilling season, with the declaration: “Contains Finely Textured Beef.”
According to the company, their decision is based on extensive consumer research over the past 18 months.
“Our research shows that consumers believe ground beef products containing finely textured beef should be clearly labeled,” said John Keating, Cargill Beef president. “We’ve listened to the public, as well as our customers, and that is why today we are declaring our commitment to labeling finely textured beef.”
National consumer surveys and focus group research reveals that, overwhelmingly, consumers desire transparency and believe ground beef products containing finely textured beef should be clearly labeled, providing consumers with choices when they make a purchase, the company said in a release. The com pany’s research also revealed that, upon learning finely textured beef is 100 percent pure beef and 95 percent lean, as well as how it is made, consumers respond positively to its benefits.
Cargill has launched a dedicated finely textured beef website at http://www. groundbeefanswers.com that provides information about the product, including videos showing how finely textured beef is made at its U.S. beef cattle processing plants.
Meanwhile, oral arguments are scheduled for December in the BPI-ABC lawsuit, with a motion to dismiss the defamation case relating to ABC News’ coverage of the product.
The lawsuit filed by BPI was moved in June from federal court to circuit court. ABC is asking the circuit judge to dismiss the case.
According to BPI, the TV network damaged the company by misleading consumers into believing that the product is unhealthy and unsafe and is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.
The coverage led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs.
The South Dakota Union County Clerk of Courts office says the hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor