DAY 10: Jury hears testimony from a former BPI employee who was fired by the company
Sioux City, IA —
Early Friday morning, the jury watched a continued videotaped deposition of a Former BPI employee, Kit Foshee, who served as the Quality Assurance Manager. But in 2001, BPI fired Foshee after court documents say he disagreed with the company’s attempt to promote more rigorous safety procedures. Foshee later filed a lawsuit against BPI Tech over his termination, but would lose that lawsuit.
“They wanted to use the pieces that had connective tissue because it had lean on it but when you’re trying to recover that lean, I would say it’s impossible not to get that lean without getting some of that connective tissue with it," said Foshee.
In his deposition, Foshee said that prior March 8th ABC News interview with Jim Avila, Foshee had made a number of statements in court proceedings that were critical of BPI, describing Lean Finely Textured Beef as “pink-slime”, “play dough” and more like gelatin.
“It’s a very cheap replacement that is much higher than connective tissue, lower quality, it’s fulfilling. It’s filling the place of a high quality meat item," said Foshee.
He explained that the protein in Lean Finely Textured Beef comes mostly from connective tissue as opposed to muscle meat, and that it is not as nutritious as regular beef.
Court documents show, “the ABC Defendants published the statements of this disgruntled employee and presented them as facts to over seven million consumers.” But in his testimony, Foshee says he was trying to bring to light, what consumers needed to know as far as the safety of LFTB.
“The test results showed what Eldon Roth wanted it to show. He wouldn’t even view them and I included them to make it my mind to force him to look at and review how poorly it performed when it he was making claims that it would actually eliminate and kill bacteria in ground beef," said Foshee.
Later, the jury heard testimony from BPI Corporate Administrator Rich Jochum.
Jochum said, a week before the March 2012 ABC News reports on LFTB, the company generated 5-million-pounds of beef per week, but one month later, that amount dropped to 1.2 million pounds per week.
“The reduction in sales has an immediate and direct impact on all three companies whether the sales activity, the revenues that are being generated, the amount of production that we’re doing, our cost to produce, directly related to how much we’re able to produce," said Foshee.
Jochum said he provided ample information on LFTB and its food safety production, to ABC News prior to the March 2012 reports, but later found out that little to no information was used.
“Did Mr. Avila include any of these quotes in any of their reports he did?” asked Erik Connolly, BPI Attorney.
“No he didn’t," said Jochum.
“Did ABC include any of these quotes in any of their reports it did?" asked Connolly.
“No, they didn’t," said Jochum.
Trial continues 8:30 am Monday at the Union County Courthouse.