LUBBOCK, Texas — The maker of “pink slime” suspended operations Monday at all but one plant where the beef ingredient is made, acknowledging recent public uproar over the product has cost the company business.
Craig Letch, director of food quality and assurance for Beef Products Inc., declined to discuss financial details, but said business has taken a “substantial” hit since social media exploded with worry over the ammonia-treated filler and an online petition seeking its ouster from schools drew hundreds of thousands of supporters. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided school districts may stop using it and some retail chains have pulled products containing it from their shelves.
Federal regulators say the product, which has been used for years and is known in the industry as “lean, finely textured beef,” meets food safety standards. But critics call the product an unappetizing example of industrialized food production.
Beef Products will suspend operations at plants in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa, Letch said. About 200 employees at each of the three plants will get full salary and benefits for 60 days during the suspension. The company’s plant at its Dakota Dunes, S.D., headquarters will continue operations.
The company, meanwhile, will develop a strategy for rebuilding business and addressing what Letch called misconceptions about the beef the company makes.
“We feel like when people can start to understand the truth and reality then our business will come back,” he said. “It’s 100 percent beef.”
Rare Honus Wagner card could fetch $1.5 million
ST. LOUIS — A suburban St. Louis man who has been in the collectibles business for a quarter of a century, says the 102-year-old baseball card he’s putting up for auction starting Tuesday is about as good as it gets.
Bill Goodwin expects the 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card — one of the most sought-after sports collectibles in the world — to fetch at least $1 million, and perhaps as much as $1.5 million, in the online auction.
The card is owned by a Houston businessman who has declined to be identified. The auction continues through April 19.
The 2-1/2-inch by 1-1/2-inch baseball card was released in cigarette packs sold by the American Tobacco Co. from 1909 to 1911. Wagner is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players of his era. Nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman,” he spent most of his 21-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning eight batting titles and hitting a career .327.
But what makes the card special is that it was pulled from circulation after about 200 were issued.
Vt. police believe they’ve found teacher’s body
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. — Vermont police found a body in a remote area Monday that they believe is that of a beloved teacher at a New England boarding school whose SUV was found running with her unharmed 2-year-old inside.
Authorities will continue to seek a suspect in the disappearance of 33-year-old Melissa Jenkins, Vermont State Police Maj. Ed Ledo said at a news conference Monday night.
He would not give details on the condition of the body found in Barnet, a town not far St. Johnsbury, where the single mother’s vehicle was discovered Sunday evening near signs of a struggle. An autopsy was planned for Tuesday.
Afghan ‘allies’ kill 3 more soldiers from US-led coalition
KABUL, Afghanistan — Three soldiers from the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan — two of them British and the nationality of the third unknown — were killed Monday, apparently by members of the Afghan security forces in two separate incidents, the latest in a series of “green on blue” shootings.
The two British soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan soldier at a coalition base in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in Afghanistan’s south. The third soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan, according to a statement from the International Security Assistance Force, the U.S.-led coalition’s formal name.
Details of the incident in Helmand were sketchy, but a spokesman for Helmand’s governor told McClatchy Newspapers that the attack happened at a gate to the headquarters of the coalition’s provincial reconstruction team in Lashkar Gah as Afghan army vehicles were waiting to enter.
“The shooter had come to the base with other (Afghan) soldiers,” spokesman Daud Ahmadi said. “He entered through the gate used by local workers at the base and then opened fire.”
Ahmadi said coalition soldiers returned fire, killing the Afghan soldier.
Tibetan protester sets himself on fire in New Delhi
NEW DELHI — A Tibetan set himself on fire Monday before running several hundred feet down a busy New Delhi street, suffering critical burns. The incident came just ahead of a visit to India by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The protester, identified by Tibetan activists as Janphel Yeshi, 27, attempted the self-immolation at Jantar Mantar, an open area where rallies and demonstrations are often held. Media reports, citing witnesses, said Yeshi yelled as he ran along the road dressed in a sweater and dark trousers, black smoke pouring from his hair.
Tibet has been a vassal state of China for much of its history. The Chinese military took control in 1950, leading to the exile of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, nine years later.
Many Tibetans in China bridle at Chinese rule, arguing that their religion, culture and traditions are being systematically smothered by Beijing under policies aimed at relocating large numbers of Han Chinese to the plateau.
This is the second attempted self-immolation in New Delhi, which is home to thousands of Tibetans who have crossed over the Himalayan mountains from China.