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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Pink Slime Lawsuit Press Conference (and book signing) Postponed

According to KTIV this morning:

We’ll have to wait a while longer to learn the details of a lawsuit being filed by a former employee of Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products Incorporated. Bruce Smith has postponed a news conference he had scheduled for this afternoon at company headquarters. No explanation was given for the postponement and no new date was given. Smith says he lost his job because of the controversy over Lean, Finely Textured Beef and said he is suing a “national news broadcasting company,” and other individuals involved.

I was hoping to get a copy of the complaint and a book.

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  • Darn. There went my afternoon entertainment.

  • Paul F Schwarz

    Maybe Abigail and the rest couldn’t make it!
    Paul A Schwarz
    December 18, 2011
    Section 51 Row 1 Grave 3 Ft Leavenworth/Leavenworth National Cemetery

  • mommm!!!

    Dang! Any educated guesses why he canceled? Also, that guy sure wrote a book awfully fast. I wonder how the beef people feel about the title he chose.
    Maybe I should get all the farmers together that were forced out of their farms by big ag and get them to write books, too. We could call it “How Vertical Integration Birthed Pink Slime”

  • Theresa Kentner

    I don’t understand the glee in watching this person (Smith) struggle. He was employed by a company that he may have thought was doing the right thing. To take pleasure in watching him struggle to find work in this economy and in South Dakota is sad.
    I think we all should try to walk a step in the other’s shoes and trty to do the right thing.

  • Ted

    I’m not sure farmers are forced out of business by “big ag” (it probably is because they stubbornly insist upon remaining “small inefficient ag” in an ever growing world) but I am quite certain they are not being forced out by a smarmy smear campaign and mob lynching at the keyboard of an attention seeker posing as an angry mommy blogger (the current tres chic child exploiting persona of the bigoted bully in the know — a sniper hiding behind motherhood and apple pie and all that).
    The glee we read in the gloating of creepy anti-industry fanatics exposes their hateful self-righteous character. Of course, these same brave executioners would be screaming bloody murder if they were suddenly thrown out of work to suit the fancy of some hateful agenda-driven wingnuts. There ought to be some accountability. Maybe a series of lawsuits will bring some of that, maybe not. Can’t take it lying down, this we know. Give ’em an inch and before you know it we’re all sitting around in the dark being scolded for breathing and waiting to be served our tiny daily ration of all-natural organic bean curd.

  • The “glee” you see, Theresa, is because this person wanted to file a lawsuit against people expressing their opinion. It’s the worst form of SLAPP, and it should generate disdain.
    The man didn’t ask for sympathy because he lost his job–he called a press conference to crow about suing people and writing a book with a really awful cover.
    No thanks, I have no interest in walking in this person’s shoes.
    No, BPI could have foreseen this problem if it wasn’t so blind to how the world worked. If he wants to blame anyone, he needs to blame his former company.

  • Theresa Kentner

    I guess I see more shades of grey, Shelley. I could never guess what the public will like or throw support behind and I don’t imagine a business can be any more successful at it. (Pepsi Clear, New Coke, Jersey Shore and all reality TV; as well as bloggers come to mind)
    I didn’t see crowing in the suit filed. I saw pain (and yes, a horrific cover)
    In rural America, jobs are hard to come by. Some people, who end up working in manufacturing facilities don’t have a lot of options. Is it their fault? Probably. Should we cast aspersions on them, I don’t think so.
    I don’t know the particulars of the suit and only going by what was on this website, that he was filing against Bettina, ABC, and others. I don’t know that ABC *didn’t* hype up the controversy about ‘pink slime’. Wouldn’t that be what the suit would uncover? Ill informed people do not deserve our disdain. We don’t have to buy in to their story but we don’t need to heap sarcasm and contempt upon them.
    I do not think people should be punished for what they write or say. I am not an advocate of S.L.A.P.P. I think if someone is doing the right thing with best practices, they should have no reason for concern if someone films their operations. BUT if someone, with malice and incorrect information, drives someone out of business, I think they should be accountable. That is part of the bargain of free speech, you can say what you want, but be aware there may be repercussions.

  • Point of clarification: Smith never mentioned exactly who he was suing. There was some conjecture about who he was going to sue, but he never gave specifics in his press release. I find it unlikely, now, that he will sue.
    There was no malice about BPI. There was understandable concern about adulterated beef (and yes, that is a correct term) being used with school lunches, and included in supposedly fresh ground beef at the store. BPI did everything in its power to keep this information from the public, and the public reacted. Of course the public reacted.
    No one was out to get BPI, or wanted it closed down. They just didn’t want this stuff in their food, or their kids’ food. They wanted meat that had the adulterated beef to be labeled. BPI wasn’t nimble enough to respond effectively.

  • Christopher

    A class action civil suit representing the hundreds of BPI workers and their families now unemployed would be the appropriate response. They did nothing wrong, they hid nothing, adulterated nothing, slandered no one, created no mob hysteria. They were only doing their jobs…safely and conscientiously. Then along comes Bettina Seigel and Jamie Oliver and Marion Nestle and ABC/Disney with their malicious ongoing public vendetta against food and industry. These extremist creeps figured out to exploit innocent school kids this time, portraying them as victims in a passionately angry fable misrepresenting a safe affordable product they relentlessly labeled “pink slime” to elicit maximum “yuck” response…and “BPI wasn’t nimble enough to respond effectively”. Thus for extremist anti-food fanatics the end validates the means.

  • Christopher, stop right there.
    The public has a right to know what’s in the food we eat. It is not the public’s fault that when we found out this adulterated beef was in school lunches and the meat they buy at the supermarket, we reacted.
    Do you want to sue the hundreds of thousands of people who demanded that this adulterated beef not be served in lunches?
    Do you want to blame all consumers because we want some control in what we eat?
    How many people do you want to blame before you feel you reached the “at fault” boundary?
    If you want to blame anyone, look no further than BPI.
    End of story.

  • I believe people have the right to know what is in their food, but I think that they have to educate themselves. Do some research, after all BPI had a video on youtube. I work in regulatory affairs for a fortune 500 food company with previous Quality/Regulatory experience in poultry. I challenge you to find out how your “all white meat” chicken nuggets (ahem, McNuggets) are made. You picture chicken breasts being cut up right? Well it’s more like the breast cages going through a grinder that takes the 5-10% breast meat scrap off the cage and squirts out…oh wait for it….pink slime! But this is 100% white meat. My moral is, do your education, choose what you will or will not eat, but concentrate less on condemning industry for “hiding” things that you, the happily ignorant consumer, were never even looking for.