South Dakota-based Beef Products Inc (BPI) is feeling the effects this month of what a series of negative media stories can do to a company’s reputation and to its bottom line. By the end of this week, BPI, a family-owned business, is expected to close processing plants in three states – Texas, Iowa and Kansas – and lay off about 650 employees – close to half of its total workforce. BPI’s remaining plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska, is expected to continue to operate, but at a reduced capacity The company blames the closures and the job losses on a controversy concerning its meat product – lean finely textured beef (LFTB) – that critics and news reports have dubbed “pink slime.”