Wautoma, WI
Current Conditions
0:56 AM CDT
Clear
Temperature
57°F
Dew Point
51°F
Humidity
80%
Wind
NNW at 9 mph
Barometer
30.11 in. F
Visibility
10.00 mi.
Sunrise
05:40 a.m.
Sunset
08:26 p.m.
Morning Forecast (7:00am-12:00pm)
Temperatures will range from 53 to 68 degrees with clear skies. Winds will remain steady around 11 miles per hour from the north. No precipitation is expected.
7-Day Forecast
Monday
73°F / 53°F
Partly Cloudy
Tuesday
74°F / 54°F
Scattered Showers
Wednesday
76°F / 54°F
Scattered Showers
Thursday
78°F / 55°F
Scattered Showers
Friday
77°F / 52°F
Light Rain
Saturday
73°F / 52°F
Scattered Showers
Sunday
79°F / 55°F
Partly Cloudy
Detailed Short Term Forecast
Issued at 0:56 AM CDT
Monday...Temperatures will range from a high of 73 to a low of 53 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 5 and 13 miles per hour from the westnorthwest. Less than 1 tenth inch of rain is possible.
This Afternoon ...Temperatures will range from 73 to 67 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 6 and 13 miles per hour from the northwest. Rain amounts of less than a tenth of an inch are expected.
This Evening ...Temperatures will range from 66 to 57 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 5 and 9 miles per hour from the west. No precipitation is expected.
Overnight ...Temperatures will range from 57 to 54 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will remain steady around 10 miles per hour from the northwest. No precipitation is expected.
Tuesday...Temperatures will range from a high of 74 to a low of 54 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 4 and 11 miles per hour from the northwest. 0.34 inches of rain are expected.

BPI sues ABC News for 'pink slime' defamation

Sept. 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News, Inc. for defamation Thursday (Sept. 13) over its coverage of a meat product that critics dub "pink slime," claiming the network misled consumers into believing it is unhealthy and unsafe.

The Dakota Dunes, SD-based meat processor is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for roughly 200 "false and misleading and defamatory" statements about the product officially known as lean, finely textured beef, said Dan Webb, BPI's Chicago-based attorney.

The lawsuit filed in a South Dakota state court also names several individuals as defendants, including ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer and the Departure of Agriculture microbiologist who coined the term "pink slime."

The company's reporting "caused consumers to believe that our lean beef is not beef at all - that it's an unhealthy pink slime, unsafe for public consumption, and that somehow it got hidden in the meat," Webb said before the company's official announcement.

ABC News, owned by The Walt Disney Co., denied BPI's claims.

"The lawsuit is without merit," Jeffrey W. Schneider, the news station's senior vice president, said in a brief statement Thursday. "We will contest it vigorously."

The 257-page lawsuit names American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., ABC News, Inc., Sawyer and ABC correspondents Jim Avila and David Kerley as defendants. It also names Gerald Zirnstein, the USDA microbiologist who named the product "pink slime," Carl Custer, a former federal food scientist, and Kit Foshee, a former BPI quality assurance manager who was interviewed by ABC.

The defendants engaged in a monthlong vicious, concerted disinformation campaign against BPI," the lawsuit claims.

The reports cited in the lawsuit include 11 that aired on television and 14 that appeared online between March 7 and April 3.

Webb said the reports had "an enormous impact" on the company, forcing it to close three of its four U.S. plants and lay off more than 650 workers.

Webb said the network also published a list of chain grocery stores that had stopped selling the product, and that this pressured others to end their business relationship with BPI.

Craig Letch, BPI's director of food-quality assurance, said the company lost 80 percent of its business in 28 days. Some of the customers have returned, he said, but BPI still doesn't have the customer base that would allow it to rehire former employees.

Webb said the reports created the false impression "that it's some type of chemical product, that it's not beef. It led people to believe that it's some kind of repulsive, horrible, vile substance that got put into ground beef and hidden from consumers."

"The result of that has been catastrophic for this company," he said.

BPI has previously declined to discuss how much it lost in sales, but acknowledged it took a "substantial" hit.

Critics worried about the way the meat is processed. Bits of beef are heated and treated with a small amount of ammonia to kill bacteria, a practice that has been used for decades and meets federal food safety standards.

The phrase "pink slime" began to spread after The New York Times cited it in a 2009 article on the safety of meat processing methods.

Soon afterward, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver began railing against it. McDonald's and other fast food companies stopped using it, and major supermarket chains including Kroger and Stop & Shop, vowed to stop selling beef with the low-cost product.

An online petition calling for the banning of the product from school menus drew hundreds of thousands of supporters.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said the vast majority of states participating in its National School Lunch Program have opted to order ground beef that doesn't contain the product. Only three - Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota - chose to order beef that may contain it.

The uproar prompted Beef Products to suspend operations at plants in Amarillo, TX; Garden City, KS; and Waterloo, IA. Beef Products' plants in Iowa and Kansas each produced about 350,000 pounds of beef per day, while the one in Texas produced about 200,000 pounds a day.

The company has won support from the governors of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas and South Dakota. U.S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack has also defended the product, saying the federal government wouldn't allow the product if it was unsafe.

The company has launched a public relations offensive, including a website (www.beefisbeef.com) to advocate for the product.

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