Jamie Oliver, ABC Sued Over 'Pink Slime'

Former beef worker says phrase figured in his firing
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 13, 2012 3:00 AM CST
This Feb. 22, 2008 file photo shows British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.   (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter, File)

(Newser) – The war over pink slime has resurfaced: Now, a former beef worker is suing TV chef Jamie Oliver, ABC News, and a food blogger for using the unappealing term. Bruce Smith brought the lawsuit after he and some 750 others were fired from a company that makes lean, finely textured beef—aka "pink slime." Smith, who says Beef Products Inc. was "maligned" by the phrase, wants $70,000 in damages, the BBC reports.

Food blogger Bettina Siegel and ABC journalists Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila are among the named defendants in the Nebraska suit. The firm and its workers "were unfairly and unnecessarily maligned and accused of producing a food product that did not exist," the suit says. Oliver used "his celebrity chef media notoriety to place pressure on ... McDonald's, and others, to immediately stop using" the product. For her part, Siegel says she's "confident the First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans, including bloggers like myself, against meritless attempts at censorship like this one." Beef Products Inc. has separately sued ABC News. (Read more Jamie Oliver stories.)

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