Jamie Oliver sued by factory worker over 'pink slime' slur

Beef Products Inc former employees sues Oliver and others after losing his job

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The Independent Culture

Jamie Oliver is being sued by an American man who claims he lost his job in a ground beef factory after Oliver and others negatively labelled the product “pink slime”.

Bruce Smith, 58, was one of about 750 people fired by Beef Products Inc, maker of lean finely textured beef.

He is seeking £70,000 (£43,000) in damages, saying the company and workers were “maligned” by the “unfair” phrase.

Smith filed his lawsuit naming Jamie Oliver, food blogger Bettina Siegel, ABC News, its journalists Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila, and 10 other unnamed defendants.

He claims that chef Jamie Oliver used his TV show American Food Revolution and social media to target Beef Products Inc.

“Defendant Oliver proceeded to use his celebrity chef media notoriety to place pressure on American fast food company McDonald's, and others, to immediately stop using (lean finely textured beef) LFTB ground beef in its retail menu food products,” the lawsuit alleges.

School food reformer Bettina Siegel, who petitioned the US government to change its food policy, said in a blog post: “I'm confident the First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans, including bloggers like myself, against meritless attempts at censorship like this one.

”I will vigorously defend my right, and the rights of all of us, to speak out on matters of public importance.“

Beef Products Inc has also sued ABC News separately for defamation, asking for damages of $1.2 billion.

Neither ABC News nor Jamie Oliver made any comment on Mr Smith's lawsuit.