ABC, meat producer settle in $1.9B US ‘pink slime’ libel suit

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ABC and a South Dakota gist producer announced a settlement Wednesday in a $1.9 billion US lawsuit against the American network over with its reports on a lean, finely textured beef product that critics dubbed «pink slime.»

The an understandings of the settlement are confidential. Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products Inc. sued ABC in 2012, prognosticating ABC’s coverage misled consumers into believing the product is unsafe, is not beef and isn’t nutrimental. ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend said in a Wednesday statement that the network all the way through the case has maintained its reports accurately presented the facts and views of cultured people about the product.

«Although we have concluded that pursued litigation of this case is not in the Company’s interests, we remain committed to the fine fettle pursuit of truth and the consumer’s right to know about the products they buying,» Townsend said.

BPI and its family owners said in a statement that the lawsuit was onerous, but necessary to start rectifying the harm suffered as a result of ABC’s reports on lanky, finely textured beef. The coverage emphasized that the product at the constantly was present in 70 per cent of the ground beef sold in supermarkets, but wasn’t imprinted.

After the reports aired, some grocery store chains influenced they would stop carrying ground beef that bridled the product. BPI claimed in the 2012 complaint that sales declined from back 5 million pounds (2.3 million kilograms) per week to less than 2 million pounds (907,000 kilograms) per week.

The issue can be added to ground beef to reduce the overall fat content. It’s made from trimmings formerly larboard after a cow is butchered. The meat is separated from the fat, and ammonia gas is applied to decimate bacteria. Former Department of Agriculture microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein named the offering «pink slime» in a 2002 agency email.

Plant closures

BPI has turned the sales drop forced it to close plants in Iowa, Kansas and Texas, stake off more than 700 workers. Only a Nebraska plant in South Sioux Burg remained open.

«Through this process, we have again began what we all know to be true about Lean Finely Textured Beef: it is beef, and is shielded, wholesome, and nutritious,» the company and family said in the statement. «This ahead provides us with a strong foundation on which to grow the business, while allowing us to balance focused on achieving the vision of the Roth and BPI family.»

Both ABC and BPI declined to clarification beyond their written statements.

BPI could have been go damages as high as $1.9 billion, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enter from Disney, which owns ABC. BPI was also seeking «treble» impairs, or triple the amount, under South Dakota’s Agricultural Food Commodities Disparagement Act and punitive damages.

Opening statements in the trial against ABC and journalist Jim Avila were in early June, and the trial was scheduled to last until dilatory July.

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