BPI Files Suit Against ABC for Disinformation Campaign
False and Disparaging Statements About Lean Finely Textured Beef Cause More Than 700 Americans to Lose Jobs, Three Facilities to Close and Over One Billion Dollars in Claimed Damages
DAKOTA DUNES, SD (Sept. 13, 2012) – BPI Technology, Inc., Beef Products, Inc., and Freezing Machines, Inc. (collectively, “BPI”) filed a suit against the American Broadcast Companies, Inc. (ABC), ABC News, Inc., three ABC News reporters, and others for knowingly and intentionally publishing false and disparaging statements regarding BPI and the lean finely textured beef (LFTB) it makes. BPI alleges that ABC and others launched a concerted disinformation campaign against the companies, which had a significant adverse affect on BPI’s reputation, as well as a significant negative financial impact on the companies.
“For more than 30 years, our family has built and operated companies that are committed to providing consumers with wholesome, safe and nutritious lean beef. We’ve created thousands of good jobs for Americans and our lean finely textured beef has made the leaner ground beef that consumers desire more affordable,” said Eldon Roth, founder and CEO of BPI. “The blatantly false and disparaging statements made about our lean beef have done more than hurt my family and our companies, they have jeopardized the future of our employees and their families.”
In their complaint, filed Thursday in Circuit Court in Union County, South Dakota, BPI alleges that ABC and the individuals named in the suit knowingly made false, defamatory and disparaging statements regarding BPI and LFTB during a disinformation campaign this spring. These statements were made even after BPI and others sent ABC factual information about LFTB, including conclusions from USDA, FDA, food safety organizations and numerous beef industry experts that LFTB is a safe, nutritious lean beef. As result of the disinformation campaign, BPI sales declined from approximately five million pounds of LFTB per week to less than two million pounds per week, three BPI facilities have closed and more than 700 employees lost their jobs.
“Through nearly 200 false, misleading and defamatory statements, repeated continuously during a month-long disinformation campaign, ABC and other individuals knowingly misled consumers into believing that LFTB was not beef and not safe for public consumption, which is completely false,” said Dan Webb, Chairman, Winston & Strawn LLP. “BPI has filed suit because their business has been severely damaged by this conduct. As a result, we will be asking a jury to award BPI over one billion dollars in compensatory and statutory damages, plus punitive damages.” BPI seeks to recover damages for defamation, product and food disparagement, and tortious interference with business relationships.
BPI continues their ongoing efforts to correct the disinformation published about its companies and LFTB and to share factual information about LFTB. A copy of the complaint and facts about LFTB are available at www.beefisbeef.com.
About BPI: Headquartered in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, BPI is a family-owned set of companies that were founded beginning in 1976 by Eldon Roth and his wife, Regina. For more than 30 years, BPI has provided consumers with safe, wholesome, and nutritious lean beef – some of the leanest beef in the market. BPI’s lean beef has been a part of ground beef sold in the United States since 1993.
Since their inception, BPI has been recognized as a meat industry leader for food safety innovations and their commitment to making the highest-quality lean beef. The International Association for Food Protection honored BPI with its most prestigious award, the Black Pearl Award, for BPI’s efforts in advancing food safety and quality through consumer programs, employee relations, educational activities and adherence to standards. BPI was also recognized with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation’s Beef Industry Vision Award, the National Meat Association’s E. Floyd Forbes Award and the Food Quality Award. # # #