In March, Beef Products Inc. halted work at 75% of its plants—and those conveyor belts will remain off. The purveyor of pink slime will close processing plants in three states this month because of the controversy surrounding its meat product, company officials announced yesterday. About 650 jobs will be lost when the plants close on May 25 in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas; and Waterloo, Iowa. 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. BPI has declined to discuss financial details, but has said it took a "substantial" hit. Company officials had hoped to recover but have since realized that doing so wasn't possible in the near future, says a rep. "This is a sad day for the state of Iowa," said pink-slime-eating Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Workers will "go home to their families and will soon be without a job, all because some media on the coasts decided to unfairly and viciously smear the product they so proudly produced." (Read more pink slime stories.)