Earlier this month, several more chain restaurants announced they were dropping out the use of pink slime following a long time campaign against it. Now, as there’s a general scrutiny against pink slime, its main producer faces a change of career. On Monday, Beef Products, pink slime producer, closes all but one plant, and leaves 650 people out of work.
It all began with a statement coming from McDonald’s at the beginning of this year that the chain will not be using pink slime in its products anymore. Then the matter went out of focus for several weeks only to get viral once again this month. A sort of hysteria was generated and everybody is asking for healthier alternatives to the ammonia based pink slime.
This weekend, the New York Times reported that across the country school districts are pressured by parents to give their children pink slime free products. The United States Department of Agriculture announced it will work on the product alternatives, but parents don’t seem to have the patience to wait for that.
As a result, although authorities say the products are safe to eat, Beef Products, producer of pink slime, had to shut down operations at all but one plant. Although Craig Letch, director of food quality and assurance at Beef Products Inc. hasn’t given the media any financial details, he did point out to the fact that the overall concern regarding the ammonia based pink slime has cost the company business.
Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas and Waterloo, Iowa, are the plants that will be shut down. Letch said that about 600 plant employees will be getting their full payments for the duration of the temporary activity suspension. The 60 days temporary shutdown is supposed to save the company money and give it time to find a strategy to rebuild business and clear what Beef Products calls “misconceptions” about its products.
Letch said: “We feel like when people can start to understand the truth and reality then our business will come back. It’s 100 percent beef”.
Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of the National Meat Association, said: “At a time when so many Americans struggle to put a healthy, nutritious meal on their family’s dinner table, the unfounded mischaracterization of Lean Finely Textured Beef as `pink slime’ is unconscionable”.