ABC News and Beef Products Inc. reached a settlement in
a $5.7 billion lawsuit that claimed a story ABC ran in
2012 misled viewers and caused hundreds of layoffs.
On Wednesday, ABC announced it had reached an “amicable
resolution” with BPI. The terms of the settlement are
the Sioux City Journal reported.
BPI’s attorney, Dan Webb, said that the settlement
“vindicates” the company and its production of “lean finely
textured beef,” the product that ABC dubbed “pink slime” in its
2012 reports, Sioux City Journal’s Nick Hytrek reported.
“Although we have concluded that continued litigation of
this case is not in the Company’s interests, we remain committed
to the vigorous pursuit of truth and the consumer’s right to
know about the products they purchase,” ABC said
in a statement.
The news comes less than a month after lawyers made their
opening statements in a trial that could have
resulted in a verdict of as much as $5.7 billion if BPI
In the suit, BPI alleged that ABC misled viewers by calling “lean
finely textured beef” (LFTB) “pink slime.” LFTB is a commonly
used ingredient in beef products and is safe to eat,
which ABC noted in its report. However, even with assurances
that the ingredient, which is made from the trimmings of a cow
and treated with ammonia to kill bacteria, wasn’t dangerous, the
phrase “pink slime” allegedly turned off customers.
“They ignored the proper name,” BPI’s lawyer, Dan Webb, said in
his opening argument, according
to the Hollywood Reporter. “When you have a major news
organization that is calling the product ‘slime,’ witnesses will
say they can’t imagine anything worse. It connotes something
BPI said it had to close three plants and lay off 700
workers due to “pink slime” backlash.
Meanwhile, ABC’s attorney argued that the “pink slime” reports
brought light to the fact that BPI and other ground beef
producers had been using an mostly-unknown beef product that
most shoppers and customers were unaware they were eating.