Beef Products, Inc., of South Dakota has announced it will be closing three of its processing plants on May 25. BPI claims the "pink slime" controversy in March of this year was the cause of the closures that will affect 650 workers.
Plants affected by the closure are located in Amarillo, Texas, Garden City, Kansas and Waterloo, Ohio. A fourth plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska will remain open, but at a reduced level of production.
BPI came up with the process of making the additive, LFTB, in 1994 when concern was high over the way to kill E. coli, Salmonella and other pathogens sometimes found in ground beef. The process involves heating beef scraps with ammonia, which in turn effectively kills the pathogens.
Called "lean finely textured beef", the product name, "pink slime", was coined by a microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, in 2002. At that time, Zirnstein worked for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.