Rocks and Flowers is a term we used when I worked for the Voice of America (VOA). It was an in-house periodic assessment of our good work and our failures. I’ve adopted it for contemporary news stories published by many of today’s media. Today’s Rock goes to ABC News for its 2012 “Pink Slime” story.
A South Dakota judge has allowed Beef Products Inc. to proceed with its lawsuit against ABC News claiming that the network questioned the safety of LFTB that was termed “Pink Slime” in its investigative report five years ago.
One month later, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report assessing the safety concerns of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) in America’s beef supply. LFTB uses ammonium hydroxide to kill possible pathogens in the meat. Ammonium hydroxide is also widely used is scores of food products ranging from cheese, chocolates and puddings to cereal, beer and sports drinks.
Iowa State University Animal Science Professor Jim Dickson discussed the concerns five years ago at a 2012 meeting of the ISU Block and Bridle Club. In this video of the forum, Professor Dickson notes that the ammonium hydroxide used in LFTB is safe for human consumption as certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Based on what I’ve read, seen and studied, ABC News was at best sloppy in its report. At worst, the network engaged in a malicious attempt to smear the beef industry.
If justice is to be served in this case, a jury will find ABC News guilty and punish the network with a very big fine.