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Pink slime development

Does anyone remember the pink slime issue that occurred around 2011-2012?  I had completely forgotten about it.  However, I just read that the suit brought against American Broadcasting Companies Inc. (ABC) by Beef Products Inc. (BPI) will proceed to trial. 

South Dakota circuit court Judge Cheryle Gering of the Union County Circuit Court in Elk Point, S.D., advanced a potential $5.7 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC that alleges that ABC damaged BPI by referring to its signature product, lean finely textured beef (LFTB), as "pink slime" in an ABC news series. The judge did dismiss claims against anchor Diane Sawyer but said ABC and reporter Jim Avila must present a defense against the allegations.

BPI brought the suit in 2012, charging that ABC, Sawyer and Avila damaged the company's reputation in newscasts that raised questions about the product's safety and wholesomeness and prompted consumer backlash against LFTB that cost BPI so much business that it was forced to close three of its four plants and lay off 600 plant workers.

Reuters reported that Gering said in a hearing last month a jury could determine "that there is clear and convincing evidence that ABC broadcasting and Mr. Avila were reckless, that defendants had obvious reason to doubt the veracity of informants and that they engaged in purposeful avoidance of the truth."

Sawyer was cleared since her position as an anchor limits her involvement in researching stories.

LFTB is an all-beef product made by separating lean beef and the fat in beef trim that's left over after carving roasts, steaks and other products from primals. It has been used to extend lean ground beef supplies and hold down lean ground beef prices. During processing, the product is sprayed with a mist of ammonium hydroxide, which is an accepted method for destroying pathogens. LFTB,used for more than 20 years, has been approved as safe by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The jury trial is scheduled for June 5, 2017.

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