Bpi Case Analysis

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Eldon Roth, the CEO of Beef Products Inc has been producing Lean Fine-Textured Beef through a process he invented at least 20 years ago. The FDA and the USDA has stated that this product is completely safe. The product has not been attributed to a single illnesses or death. This fact is impressive given that ground beef is especially susceptible to E. coli contamination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli causes an estimated 73,000 illnesses and 61 deaths a year. In 2008, The Washington Post even touted this products’ safety record, and speculated whether its technology could be “the key to a safer meat supply.” Many nonprofit public health organizations such as STOP Foodborne Illness (a nonprofit founded by Nancy Donley after her six year old son died from eating E. coli) have given this product their stamp of approval. Likewise, many Industry watchdog groups such as the International Association of Food Protection have given BPI its prestigious Black Pearl Award, its highest possible award. Yet within the last month, social media activists and mainstream news organizations have created a media frenzy around this product which they have dubbed “Pink Slime.”

Before the invention of Lean Fine-Textured Beef, beef trimmings were used as dog food and were generally considered unfit for human consumption. This was due to the fact that this meat had a higher tendency to be infected with e-coli, salmonella and other bacteria. Eldon Roth created a process by which the beef trimmings are put in a 100 degree heated centrifuge which mechanically removes the fat from the meat. The meat is then treated with ammonia gas (or citric acid which is now used by BPI competitors) to kill the e-coli, salmonella and other bacteria and then sold to ground beef producers who use up to 25% of it as an additive in their ground beef. It is estimated that 70% of ground beef sold in the U.S. contains LFTB. In 2002, USDA microbiologist Jerald...
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