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Beef processor sues over 'pink slime slur'

19 September 2012

TV chef Jamie Oliver is said by the Independent on Sunday to be at the centre of a row over mechanically separated meat, known to some as 'pink slime'. Beef Products, a US processing firm, is suing ABC for allegedly spreading 'false and defamatory' information about the meat product.

Beef Products describes its product as lean, finely textured beef according to the Independent. The company says the slurs about 'pink slime' were aired in May 2011 during a screening of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

The Independent says Oliver told viewers 'pink slime' is made by using a high speed centrifuge to separate small amounts of beef from parts of a butchered carcass. The meat is treated with ammonia to make it safe for humans, he alleged, then used to ''bulk out products such as mince, burgers and pies.''

The Independent notes that Oliver's report led to a furore that resulted in supermarket chains dropping goods containing the product from their shelves. But Beef Products insists ABC and Oliver misled viewers, and says the ''unfair coverage'' led to sales dropping by 80%, leading to the closure of three of its four plants.

According to the company, 700 workers were made redundant and the company is losing $20m per month in revenue.

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