BPI employees launch social media campaign to spread ‘beef is beef’ message

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Social media Facebook

BPI employees launch social media campaign to spread ‘beef is beef’ message
Workers at Beef Products Inc. (BPI) have launched a Facebook campaign countering attacks on lean finely textured beef (LFTB), saying they hope information about the safety of the ingredient will go viral – as misinformation did last month.

BPI is the world’s biggest supplier of LFTB, but was forced to close three of its four beef processing facilities after retailers decided to stop buying ground beef containing the ingredient. BPI employed about 1,500 people until an ABC news report sparked a wave of bad publicity about LFTB. The BPI plant closures have put about 650 employees out of work.

Jeremy Jacobsen is an employee at BPI’s corporate office, and co-founder of the Facebook group, People for the Truth​, which so far has attracted more than 20,400 members. On Wednesday, Jacobsen and a group of colleagues also launched a Twitter handle, @ppl4truth.

“Until March, I was just a regular employee with a regular job,”​ he said. “…It was hard for me to watch the news because they were cutting in unrelated footage.”

He said he and his colleagues felt completely frustrated as media outlets repeatedly showed one particular image; a soft sausage of what was being dubbed ‘pink slime’ oozing from a machine.

“It’s not even beef,”​ he said. “It’s mechanically separated chicken.”

‘Messages aren’t carried the way they used to be’

Tom Cother, a plant employee at BPI and co-founder of the employees’ Facebook page, said that he didn’t realize the scope of the bad publicity surrounding LFTB until he found himself in talks about having to shut down.

“I knew we were getting a beating in the social media…so we started using social media to reach out to impacted groups like producers and industry,”​ he said. “…This is a perfect example of how industry is going to have to recognize that messages aren’t carried the way they used to be. Social media means that messages are carried so rapidly.”

Critics of the ingredient have raised concerns about its safety, mainly due to treatment with ammonia hydroxide to kill bacteria, although the treatment has been approved for use for decades. Many also find the idea of the ingredient unappetizing, even comparing it to dog food – but the BPI employees are determined to spread the message that LFTB is made from beef trimmings, extracted using heat and a centrifuge. On average, LFTB is about 95% lean beef and is combined with other ground beef for use in products like hamburgers.

Plant employee Travis Derochie, who came up with the initial idea of a social media campaign, said: “The messaging we want to get out is this could happen to anybody.”

Access the employees' Facebook group by clicking here​.

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Posted by Ana,

I am in agreement with Travis. There is no issue here. Hype is all this is and all this was. It's sad so many people got caught up in the hysteria and didn't take the time to look at the facts that were right in front of their faces this whole time.

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Intelligent comments only please

Posted by Travis,

Wrong, wrong, wrong. There is no connective tissue, bones, or guts, in BPI LFTB. The company has gone to great lengths in describing their process and dispelling these social media myths. The sad part is that apparently very few people are willing to get a baseline set of facts before having these so called “strong views”. There will always be a faction of people that believe that the Government is out to get them and can’t be trusted. I get it. (actually I don’t – but you know what I mean). It’s shocking to me the number of people who can’t spend five minutes researching an issue before going off half-cocked in objection to it. We are in serious trouble when people believe bloggers over scientists, facebook over their elected officials, less than reputable sources over proven ones.

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Beef is NOT Meat

Posted by Sue Larkin,

2 points: 1. Beef is beef (eyeballs,guts,spinal tissue,etc) but IS NOT MEAT...muscle meat.This is a huge difference and why we are angry about this; we thought we were buying 100% ground muscle & fat. 2. This has been a secret conspiracy by the Ag industry & our American govt. to keep the truth from us. Otherwise, label the stuff & allow informed purchasing. Sell your pink slime if you want to but LABEL it so I can skip it. A 20 year lie/conspiracy against the American consumer is the real problem.

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