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BPI launches pink slime lawsuit against ABC News

A South Dakota beef producer on Thursday filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News, claiming the broadcaster unfairly disparaged its beef additive by labeling it “pink slime.”

Beef Products Inc., the South Dakota company that makes the lean, finely textured beef that has become known as pink slime, today filed a lawsuit in a South Dakota state court against ABC and others seeking at least $1.2 billion in damages, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The suit is filed under a state law that gives agricultural companies the ability to sue when their products are criticized, WSJ said.

BPI maintains that ABC defamed its products by calling the beef additive “pink slime.”

ABC News Senior Vice President Jeffrey Schneider said, “The lawsuit is without merit. We will contest it vigorously.”

The 257-page lawsuit names as defendants American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., ABC News, Inc., anchor Diane Sawyer and ABC correspondents Jim Avila and David Kerley, as well as Gerald Zirnstein, the USDA microbiologist who named the product “pink slime,” Carl Custer, a former federal food scientist, and Kit Foshee, a former BPI quality assurance manager who was interviewed by ABC, Bloomberg Business News reported.