From Columbia Journalism Review:
“At least four journalists and a writer have been ordered to hand over documents to attorneys representing the largest manufacturer of “pink slime,” the latest development in Beef Products Inc.’s $1.2-billion defamation lawsuit against ABC News and others.
Three journalists from Food Safety News were served subpoenas Wednesday compelling them to turn over correspondence with ABC and other defendants, according to publisher Bill Marler. Dan Flynn, editor of the site, reporter James Andrews, and former reporter Gretchen Goetz all were ordered to send emails and notes to BPI lawyers.
CJR confirmed that subpoenas were also sent to Michele Simon, a prominent writer on food policy, and Michael Moss, a New York Times writer whose 2009 reporting on contaminated meat helped him win a Pulitzer Prize the next year. In a phone interview Friday, however, Moss said his order had been stayed due to action by Times attorneys.
“Lean, finely textured beef,” which is referred to by critics as “pink slime,” is leftover trimmings that are spun in a centrifuge to separate out of the fat, then treated with ammonia to kill any pathogens. The lean trimmings are then used by restaurants, grocery stores, and other food sellers to lower the cost of the ground beef they sell. In late 2009, The New York Times ran a series of pieces that cited dozens of cases in which things like E. coli and salmonella had been found in BPI’s meat. (…)
BPI alleges that news reports between March and April 2012 amounted to “a month-long vicious, concerted disinformation campaign” that cost the company more than $400 million and resulted in more than 700 layoffs and the closing of three of its factories.”