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ABC News wants “pink slime” lawsuit in federal court

Beef Products Inc. is suing the news network for defamation over its series of reports on lean finely textured beef

ABC News, which is embroiled in a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit over a series of reports on so-called “pink slime” beef products, asked Wednesday to transfer the case to federal court.

Beef Products Inc. (BPI), a leading processor of lean finely textured beef (LFTB), sued the news network in South Dakota state court last month, arguing that its sales plummeted after ABC used the stomach-churning “pink slime” moniker in reference to its product.

LFTB, which is often used as a cheap filler in supermarket ground beef, consists of meat scraps that are treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria. In March and April, ABC aired a series of widely publicized reports that questioned the quality and safety of LFTB. In the wake of these reports, some schools, supermarkets and restaurant chains announced that they would no longer use ground beef containing the product, although the U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains that it is safe for consumption.

According to BPI, the ABC reports cost it millions of dollars in revenue, forcing it to close three of its four plants and fire 700 workers. The beef producer is seeking $400 million in compensatory damages, but that amount could be tripled under South Dakota’s Agricultural Food Products Disparagement Act. ABC’s attorneys say the company wants the suit moved because the two parties are from different states.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of “pink slime” and other food-related lawsuits, see:

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