The USDA responded by giving school districts across the country the option of ordering ground beef with or without lean, finely textured beef for the 2012-13 school year. So far, the agency said, states have requested more than 20 million pounds of ground beef without lean, finely textured beef — and only 1 million pounds that may contain it. The USDA said it cannot compare those figures with orders from previous years.
If America was increasingly alarmed by Oliver's 2011 program, so was Beef Products. The company and others, Webb said, approached ABC about what it considered false statements on Oliver's program.
"Not only did they ignore the evidence," Webb said about ABC, "they then went on this crusade against us," with broadcasts on "World News Tonight" and "Good Morning America."
The attorney said major supermarket chains stopped buying the product — fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's had already halted purchases — after the ABC reports.
"They hate this product now," Webb said about customers. "ABC has managed to convince the American consumer that we're selling some filthy product that is somehow hidden away in ground beef."