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BPI's Lean Finely Textured Beef Defamation Case Will Proceed

BPI's Lean Finely Textured Beef Defamation Case Will Proceed

South Dakota judge dismisses ABC's request to throw out Beef Products, Inc. defamation suit regarding 'pink slime' term

A defamation case Beef Products Inc. filed against ABC regarding the news organization's use of the term "pink slime" to describe the company's lean finely textured beef product will move forward, South Dakota Judge Cheryle Gering ruled Thursday.

BPI filed suit against ABC in September, 2012, alleging that ABC launched a disinformation campaign that had an adverse effect on BPI's reputation, and used the term "pink slime" to describe the company's LFTB even after it had been provided factual information about the product.

Initial arguments regarding the ABC, BPI "pink slime" case were heard in December, 2013.

South Dakota judge dismisses ABC's request to throw out defamation suit regarding 'pink slime' term (BPI photo)

As a result of the disinformation campaign, BPI claims, sales declined from approximately five million pounds of LFTB per week to less than two million pounds per week, three BPI facilities closed and more than 700 employees lost their jobs.

Related: BPI Takes Lean Finely Textured Beef Critics to Court

ABC, however, argued that they never said BPI's product was unsafe, and the lawsuit stifles free speech, Reuters reports.

BPI sought to recoup $400 million representing projected lost profit, and to triple that sum under South Dakota's Agricultural Food Products Disparagement Act, Reuters said.

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.

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