DAKOTA DUNES, S.D., September 13, 2012 —Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) announced its suit against ABC News today for defamatory coverage of the product, lean finely textured beef (LFTB). The beef company is suing ABC for “knowingly and intentionally publishing false and disparaging statements” regarding BPI and LFTB.
The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court in Union County, South Dakota, asks a jury to award BPI more than $1 billion in compensatory, statutory and punitive damages.
BPI alleges that ABC and others launched a “disinformation campaign” against BPI companies, which caused sales to decline from approximately five million pounds of LFTB per week to less than two million pounds per week, three BPI facilities to close and more than 700 employees to lose their jobs. The news outlet repeatedly referred to the product as “pink slime.”
Dan Webb, Chairman of Winston & Strawn LLP, said ABC knowingly misled consumers into believing LFTB was not safe for consumption through “nearly 200 false, misleading and defamatory statements.”
ABC News Senior Vice President Jeffery Schneider released a simple statement regarding the lawsuit that it is “without merit” and “we will contest it vigorously.”
BPI claims the news outlet made false statements about their products after it received conclusions from USDA and FDA that LFTB is a safe, nutritious lean beef.
“The blatantly false and disparaging statements made about our lean beef have done more than hurt my family and our companies; they have jeopardized the future of our employees and their families,” said Eldon Roth, founder and CEO of BPI.
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