After nearly losing its business several years ago due to a defamatory news segment about its product, Beef Products Inc. (BPI) can now call its lean finely textured beef (LFTB) product “ground beef.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) said it reviewed a submission from BPI regarding changes in its production process to produce raw beef products. FSIS reviewed the process and product produced by BPI for product identity reconsideration.
“At FSIS, our mission is protecting the public’s health by ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe, wholesome and accurately labeled and packaged. After review, FSIS has determined that Beef Products Inc. product meets the regulatory definition of ground beef under the law in 9 CFR 319.15(a) and may be labeled accordingly,” an FSIS spokesperson told Feedstuffs.
FSIS also noted that as establishments innovate and change their process, they must also ensure that labeling and packing clearly reflect these changes. “BPI has met the requirements for labeling its product as ground beef,” the agency said.
At press time, BPI had not provided a comment on the FSIS decision.
The latest announcement marks another victory for the company, which has faced unnecessary hardships since 2012.
In June 2017, the South Dakota meat producer reached a lawsuit settlement with American Broadcasting Companies Inc. (ABC) after a series that ran in March 2012 resulted in BPI suspending operations at three manufacturing facilities in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan., and Waterloo, Iowa, and laying off more than 650 employees.
By the end of the month-long ABC campaign, BPI claimed that its sales had been reduced by more than two-thirds. By May of the same year, BPI announced that the plant closures would be permanent and laid off an additional 86 employees from the corporate offices and remaining operation.
ABC made several attempts to have the more than $1 billion lawsuit dismissed or moved, but once the trial started, the company chose to end the highly anticipated eight-week trial early with a settlement.