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BPI and ABC News Go to Court Over Pink Slime

Jury selection starts this week for a lawsuit filed by Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products Inc. in 2012 against ABC News and correspondent Jim Avila over pink slime. BPI is seeking $1 billion in defamation charges, claiming that ABC made its product — beef that has had the fat removed and then ammonia gas added to kill bacteria — seem unsafe to consume.

The company claims the effects of ABC’s coverage led to the closure of three plants and the letting go of at roughly 700 employees, as demand went from about 5 million pounds per week to fewer than 2 million pounds per week.

To win, “BPI must show that ABC and Avila made defamatory implications or statements, and that they either knew the statements were false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth. The company also must prove that ABC hurt BPI,” says Argus Leader.

But ABC has refused to back down from its reporting, saying it never suggested that the product wasn’t safe to consume or an actual beef product. “ABC’s attorneys have also argued that the term ‘pink slime’ accurately describes the texture and color of lean, finely textured beef,” says Argus Leader.

The case is expected to last through July.

FERN’s Ag Insider. Produced by FERN
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