Journalists subpoenaed in Pink Slime maker's lawsuit against news organizations


All are guilty of seditious libel and crimes against shareholder value. This offense cannot be condoned!


Doesn’t defamation involve false statements? I don’t think true statements can be defamatory, nor can statements of opinion (if it’s clearly opinion.) So BPI needs to show what was said, and that’s printed in the newspaper. They need to show it’s false, whatever it is, they can address that with their own business records. They need to show it caused harm, which is why lawyers get paid so much.

How would a journalist’s email help with any of that? Unless they’re sending each other mails that say, “look at the crazy lies I made up about this meat company!” I don’t even see how it would compel a settlement, because how do you settle a case like this? Un-publish the newspaper?

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My Meat Mix flies again

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I suspect they are digging for how much the reporters actually knew, so they can keep everything else still secret without getting caught in perjury.


You are correct. Also, corporations are people, my friend.
What a world, man.

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You’re right in the legal sense but I don’t think BPI needs to win in court to obtain their objective. They win by scaring people away from even mentioning their product. Time energy and court costs are nothing to the corporate person but for the real people involved it can be costly and time consuming. I suspect that’s the idea. Scare 'em off and they won’t even dare to write about us again. Another victory for the corporate person, another loss for us the common and real person.


I guess I am a devout carnivore. That video made me hungry. Meatloaf and sausages!

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The wikipedia entry on pink slime calls “pink slime” both an epithet and pejorative.

Do they have a case right there?

@fuzzyfungus @sdmikev

1500 people lost their livelihoods over biased reporting and our squeamishness. Nutritionally this product is fine, produced no differently from tons of other processed foods, and is far from the worst processed food we buy.

AFA employed 850 people and went bankrupt, while BPI closed three plants employing 650 people.


Given the relatively high bar that defamation suits need to clear in the US, journalists calling it ‘pink slime’ (a direct quote from an FDA Food Safety and Inspection Service microbiologist who was opposed to its approval) are likely in the clear. Not so likely that they can’t be hassled; but quoting a catchy line from an expert’s writings on an issue is a fairly core ‘journalist’ thing.

As for whether any journalists overstated the amount of connective tissue in the material, or exaggerated the number of incidents where it was insufficiently ammoniated and posed an infection risk, I don’t know. If it can be demonstrated that they did make material misstatements of fact they might be in more trouble.

Legal specifics aside, I’m not in favor of people losing their jobs; but making that a standard for judging defamation would be terrifyingly overbroad. Especially in fields (like food, fashion, and vacation planning) where fads and emotional assessments constantly devalue and revalue various goods you’d essentially need to forbid talking about anything if you wanted to prevent customers from being swayed. Are they acting perfectly rationally, neatly assessing each food ingredient and cutting all below a certain distaste threshold and retaining those above? Hardly. Does that make pointing out that mechanically separated meat-slurry about which some microbiologists have distinct doubts is kind of gross to think about false? Not exactly.

If they can come up with specific false statements about safety, number of recalls, or other matters of fact, they just might nail them to the wall. A ‘you can’t say our product is pretty gross looking, because that might gross people out’ claim is just pure chilling effect, though.


Yea, that statement doesn’t really help. And as of this moment, is only your opinion.
BTW, I’d like to NOT think of ground beef as a “processed food”, thank you very much. I rarely eat red meat and don’t eat processed foods as a rule, but still…

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Defamation? They should be going for terrorist charges…
Seems close enough to Ag-gag style shenanigans…

It’s my informed opinion from reading the Wikipedia page. If you did the same, you could learn:

  1. It’s beef
  2. It’s heated and separated
  3. It’s treated with ammonia

The use of ammonium hydroxide is included on the FDA’s list of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) procedures, and is used in similar applications for numerous other food products, including puddings and baked goods.

It doesn’t go through a process that creates trans fats, or contain piles of additives.

Realistically, what we do to a cow, whether it becomes steak or slime, in terms of antibiotics, hormones, and feed is actually a legitimate, significant concern. I quickly found this article that references it, though they may be superior ones.

13 million children in the USA suffer malnutrition each year. It’s easy to be elitist and picky about our food when we have money. We need to take an intentional scientific look at how we produce nutrition.

It is my opinion as well.
It’s nice that you have your own definitions for things like ‘processed’. Just because some people think some particular food is disgusting doesn’t mean that they should make fun of or defame people/companies.
Personally, I think eating grasshoppers or durian is disgusting, what would you say if I called those people ‘icky bug eaters’?

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Yes, and it’s part of how our food production, at least meat, is near 99% efficient. It wastes near nothing, that’s just business. It’s when it finally gets to us we waste 50% of that… (source: NPR).

Wasting food when people are hungry is what’s the most distasteful. Not companies that try and produce inexpensive food. If it was actually harmful, the FDA would have pulled it, people would have gotten sick; it it tasted bad, people wouldn’t eat it and that company would fail… But since some concerned citizens couldn’t prove that it was harmful at all, they decided to use the media to call it ‘pink slime’ and has ammonia in it to make people go ‘ewww, we don’t want that in our food’. That’s not fact based or fair, it’s an opinion on aesthetics. Most Americans don’t eat tofu because it’s some slimy gelatinous white cube thing with no flavor. You don’t see any ‘meat and potatoes’ folks trying to ban it from schools, do you?


I’m not familiar with the US, but how does a concerned citizen decide ‘to use the media’?
Is there some special hotline one can use?


Where do you live without the glory that is 24-hour news??

Can we ban baked potatoes seeing as they surpass sugar on the glycemic index? :slight_smile:

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You raise a lot of good legal-oriented points. I’m curious if you’re educated in that field?

I think that we can agree that though this may not be defamation, the news organizations actions in order to get ratings resulted in significant damage to many lives. They clearly worked to disgust people, referring to it with an epithet rather than its actual name; quite different from quoting.

It’s pretty simple. Be fair and balanced. Attempt to report objectively. Is that so much to ask?

Pink, check. Slime, check.

Soylent green, under any other name, will still be people.