Cargill adds ‘textured beef’ wording to labels

Meat labeling

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Cargill, one of the nation’s largest meat packers, has added wording to its labels on ground beef packages that indicates whether the meat inside includes a product that’s been called “pink slime.”

Since Jan. 20, all of Cargill’s U.S.-produced, fresh, 100 percent ground beef products that contain what it calls “finely textured beef” will say so on a label, whether sold in bulk or in chubs directly to consumers, the company announced this week. Cargill had said in November that it would add the labeling, the Lincoln Journal Star said (http://bit.ly/1g9Wjyb ).

Cargill also said it has developed a website to answer questions about finely textured beef.

Another company that makes the textured beef product, Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based Beef Products Inc., sued ABC News in September 2012 after the organization aired a story that used the phrase “pink slime.” The company said the story mentioned only Beef Products Inc. and its product and misled consumers into believing the product is unhealthy and unsafe.

The company said it lost business and had to close plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa. It kept open a Nebraska plant that is still running at reduced capacity, but Beef Products spokesman Jeremy Jacobsen told The Associated Press on Friday that the other plants remained closed.

An ABC attorney has said the network in each of its broadcasts stated that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed the product safe to eat and that the coverage never suggested the product was unsafe.

Beef Products is seeking $1.2 billion in damages from ABC, ABC staffers, and scientists who criticized the product.

Jacobsen said his company has been encouraging its customers to add labeling similar to Cargill’s.

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