Pink Slime - ©

ABC News Red-Faced Over Pink Slime

Remember the big kerfuffle in the news media back in 2012, over reports that McDonald’s and other fast food purveyors were using ‘Pink Slime’ in their Meat products? Well, America’s largest producer of the substance sued the network that originated the story and only now has settled…

Disney Burger - © Mouse Burger at Disney World - © dsoup via wdwforgrownups.comThe Mouse Burger at Disney Land Paris. We wonder, Disney, what’s in your Burgers?

ABC News, which is owned by the Disney organization, ‘broke’ the Pink Slime story back in 2012 after animal rights activists and food bloggers started talking about the stuff that goes into processed meat products – notably, McDonald’s Burgers, Chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwich patties. The ‘stuff’ is mechanically de-boned meat, officially called ‘lean, finely textured protein’, was claimed to contain parts of the chicken that are not approved for human consumption. And the way they make it was cited as inhumane, in the extreme.

There are Chicken and Beef versions of Pink Slime, which was used to augment the ground meat in many Fast Food chain Burger patties. Why? Because it’s cheap. And it’s easy for the machines at the manufacturing plants to extrude and stamp out.


The processing plant targeted on the ABC reports, Beef Products International (BPI), sued the network and its owner, Disney, for (US)$1.9 billion, claiming defamation. This week, news leaked out, buried in Disney’s regular quarterly financial reports, that an out-of-court settlement had been reached, giving BPI (US)$177 million – less than half of what it claimed, but still a notable hit to Disney’s second quarter.

We don’t know all the terms of the settlement, but we do know that, if ABC/Disney capitulated, they admitted, in doing so, to some sort of wrong-doing. On the other hand, no official, forced apology to BPI has been issued and ABC has not removed or redacted its stories, which remain online.

One way or another, the settlement is seen by the news industry as having a chilling effect on  investigative journalism, and, possibly, on free speech. We’ll see. My take? I don’t like secret settlements, either in court or out. We all have a right to know ‘WHY’…

~ Maggie J.