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Judge Hears Initial Arguments in BPI, ABC News Case

BPI alleges news reports that labeled LFTB as 'pink slime' damaged the company's operations

Published on: Dec 18, 2013

A South Dakota judge Tuesday heard arguments in a case of defamation brought against ABC News by lean finely textured beef maker Beef Products, Inc.

In the case, BPI alleged that ABC News reported false statements regarding the company's LFTB, coining the product "pink slime" in a variety of news stories.

Judge Cheryle Gering presided over the preliminary hearing, which outlined the positions of both companies.

According to local news reports, BPI asked for $1.2 billion in damages stemming from the more than 130 times the company says ABC News used the term "pink slime" to describe LFTB. ABC says the case questions the media's right to be objective.

BPI alleges news reports that labeled LFTB as pink slime damaged the companys operations
BPI alleges news reports that labeled LFTB as 'pink slime' damaged the company's operations

Gering will issue a written decision indicating how the trial will proceed, however, she did not say when the decision would be released, according to Reuters.

BPI filed the case in September, 2012, after the company alleged the "pink slime" debacle brought LFTB sales from approximately five million pounds per week to less than two million pounds per week. In addition, three BPI facilities closed and more than 700 employees lost their jobs.

According to the American Meat Institute, LFTB is a USDA-inspected product that begins as a mixture of beef trimmings that are finely ground and then spun in a centrifuge to remove most of the fat, resulting in a product that is roughly 95% lean.

Read more on LFTB:
Beef Products Inc. Throws in the Towel
Commentary: Pink Slime Furor Is Reactionary Foodie Nonsense
BPI To Announce Defamation Lawsuit Thursday
BPI Names ABC News in Disinformation Lawsuit
BPI Takes Lean Finely Textured Beef Critics to Court
Cargill Announces New Labeling Policy for Finely Textured Beef