Beef Products Inc., the company suing ABC News because of its characterization of lean, finely textured beef as "pink slime," has agreed to pay a $450,000 civil penalty to settle a separate complaint filed against the company by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

According to an EPA news release, the civil penalty is the result of an 2007 accident at its now-closed Waterloo plant that killed one worker and permanently disabled another.  The incident involved the release of more than 1,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia into a production area, trapping the two workers.

 

The EPA said the company had a risk management program on paper, but had failed to implement the program at the Waterloo plant.

 

In 2005, with a goal of preventing accidents and helping regulated entities understand their obligations in accordance with environmental laws, EPA Region 7 published an Accident Prevention and Response Manual for Anhydrous Ammonia Refrigeration System Operators. That guide, now in its third edition, is available online.

 

BPI announced in May 2012 that as a result of the loss of customers because of the ABC News report it was closing three of its four plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa, including the Waterloo plant.

 

Last month, a judge blocked Iowa State University from releasing documents about food safety research conducted for BPI. District Judge Dale Ruigh ruled that releasing the records would damage Beef Products Inc. by revealing information about its proprietary food-processing techniques. 

 

Releasing them also would eliminate revenue that Iowa State laboratories receive from companies, who would go elsewhere for testing if they feared results were public records, he said, according to an Associated Press article on ABC News' website.

 

The ISU records had been sought by the New York Times and a Seattle law firm that specializes in food safety, according to the Associated Press.