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US beef industry against the ropes after “Pink Slime” crisis April 6, 2012

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Several news reports in March 2012 focusing on “lean, finely textured beef,” or “pink slime,” have put America’s beef industry in a difficult spot. Following a March 7 story from ABC’s Diane Sawyer which suggested that Americans were eating meat once meant only for animals and cooking oil, consumers have been bashing a product that is treated with ammonia during processing and served in restaurants and cafeterias across the country. After just a month, the hysteria led AFA Foods in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, to declare bankruptcy, and Beef Products Inc. to scale back its operations significantly.

Producers of “lean, finely textured beef” are clearly in the midst of a PR crisis, due mostly to their inability to combat the “pink slime” label used to characterize their product. Finely textured beef is indeed made from meat scraps, and surely uses ammonia to kill off bacteria. However, the practice has been commonplace for many years. Yet, since “lean, finely textured beef” is a mouthful, and its label is so effective, the industry has been left to criticize the news media for producing hysteria. The strategy, though, hasn’t been effective.

For more on the “pink slime” crisis, see the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why are so many consumers having a negative reaction to news about “pink slime”?

2.  What has been the shortcoming of the beef industry’s response to this crisis thus far?

3.  What could the beef industry do to get a better handle of this crisis?

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