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BPI to close 3 plants, blaming pink slime uproar

Posted: May 8, 2012 |   Comments

LINCOLN, Neb. - Beef Products Inc. will close processing plants in three states this month because of the controversy surrounding its meat product that critics have dubbed pink slime, a company official said Monday.About 650 jobs will be lost when the plants close on May 25 in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas, and Waterloo Iowa, company spokesman Rich Jochum said. A plant in South Sioux City, Neb., will remain open but run at reduced capacity.

The South Dakota-based company blamed the closures on what it said were unfounded attacks over its lean, finely textured beef. During its processing, bits of beef are heated and treated with a small amount of ammonia to kill bacteria. The filler has been used for years and meets federal food safety standards.

But the company suspended operations at the three plants in March amid public uproar over the filler. BPI has declined to discuss financial details, but has said it took a "substantial" hit after social media exploded with worry over the product and an online petition seeking its ouster from schools drew hundreds of thousands of supporters.

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