BPI has many allies, including prominent food safety advocates like Nancy Donley, who founded the nonprofit organization STOP Foodborne Illness after the death of her only child, Alex, to an E. coli O157:H7 infection. He was 6 years old, and Donley has been a tireless advocate and champion of food safety ever since. Despite this, Avila callously suggested at a recent press conference that Donley’s motives for publicly backing BPI’s food safety record were tied to donations the company had made to her organization.
The visibly shaken Donley replied: “No price can be put on my son’s head. I can’t be bought, and neither can my organization. We represent the victims.”
The media’s continuing tendency to forgo reason and science for the sake of sensationalism is unfortunate and disturbing. And the fallout from this negative campaign against BPI has yet to be fully assessed. At a minimum, an innovative and responsible company with an exemplary food safety record is in peril, as are the jobs of the thousands of men and woman who work for BPI.
What Is Pink Slime?
The term “pink slime,” which refers to lean, finely textured beef, was apparently coined in an email written by former USDA employee Gerald Zirnstein. Zirnstein, not known for his grandiloquence, recently expressed regret over the content of the email, saying “[it] screwed up my career at FSIS.” He left FSIS shortly after his remarks were first made public and now regards the decision to leave “a bad choice,” remarking that he felt as though he “jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.” The internal memo has, however, paid great dividends for media personalities and industry critics, who’ve used its contents to demonize BPI.