Business

July 30, 2014

Business Notebook

The subpoenas were issued to five writers – three reporters for the online Food Safety News, Times reporter Michael Moss and noted food writer Michele Simon – asking each to supply copies of any communications they had with ABC in 2012.

Nation & World

Food writers subpoenaed in ‘pink slime’ suit

Several food writers, including a New York Times reporter, have been subpoenaed by a meat producer as part of its $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC in regards to the network’s coverage of a beef product dubbed “pink slime” by critics.

The subpoenas were issued to five writers – three reporters for the online Food Safety News, Times reporter Michael Moss and noted food writer Michele Simon – asking each to supply copies of any communications they had with ABC in 2012.

Beef Products Inc. sued the network in 2012 seeking $1.2 billion in damages for the coverage of the meat product the industry calls “lean, finely textured beef,” which critics dubbed “pink slime.” BPI said ABC’s coverage misled consumers into believing the product was unsafe and led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs.

ABC’s attorneys say that in each of its broadcasts about the product, the network stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture deemed the product safe to eat. They say BPI might not like the phrase pink slime, but like all ground beef, it’s pink and has a slimy texture. A spokesman for ABC on Tuesday declined to comment on the lawsuit and the subpoenas. Attorneys for the network and BPI have proposed a February 2017 trial date.

U.S. military personnel to get $92 million in debt relief

Thirteen states have settled an investigation into improper lending with a court agreement that is expected to provide $92 million in debt relief for 17,800 U.S. military personnel.

Deceptive practices by Rome Finance Co., more recently doing business as Colfax Capital Corp. and Culver Capital LLC, based in California and Georgia, included failing to accurately disclose charges and interest rates, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday. Authorities also alleged the lenders helped retailers inflate prices, with repayments taken from soldiers’ paychecks.

Authorities say military personnel will keep financed merchandise like computers and gaming systems with debt forgiven. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also investigated. The states involved are Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

Jeremy Katz, attorney for the bankruptcy trustee, declined to comment Tuesday about the announced settlement. He said the bankruptcy case isn’t over yet.

McDonald’s named ‘joint employer’ with frachisees

McDonald’s Corp. says it has been notified by a labor regulator that it can be named as a “joint employer” for workers in its franchise-owned restaurants. The decision by the National Labor Relations Board was being closely watched because it could potentially expose McDonald’s to liability for the working conditions in its franchisees’ stores.

Labor organizers have said McDonald’s should be held accountable because the company has so much control in setting operational terms for franchisees.

Heather Smedstad, senior vice president of human resources for McDonald’s USA, says the company was notified by the board Tuesday.

Crayola Experience coming to Florida

Crayon manufacturer Crayola is building a family attraction in Florida. The company said Tuesday that Crayola Experience Orlando will open next summer at The Florida Mall. It will be similar to the attraction Crayola now operates in its eastern Pennsylvania hometown of Easton.

Crayola Experience Orlando will feature 25 hands-on activities in 70,000 square feet of space. One attraction will let children create their own unique crayon with a personalized wrapper. Another will let kids appear on their own coloring page.

Crayola is a subsidiary of Kansas City, Missouri-based Hallmark Cards Inc. It says it chose Orlando because it’s a top family destination. The area has three major theme park resorts, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld. But it has many more specialty parks and attractions, some built around children’s brands.

The Associated Press contributed.

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