SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Nov. 21, 2011 – The federal judge overseeing the South Dakota Beef Products, Inc. defamation case against an ABC News report on lean finely-textured beef has recused himself.

Judge Lawrence L. Piersol will be replaced by Chief Judge Karen Schreier.

BPI, Inc., filed suit in September, alleging a March ABC News report calling lean finely-textured beef “pink slime” falsely led consumers to believe that the substance was unsafe to eat. BPI says the network is responsible for $1.2 billion in damages, incurred when consumer backlash led many national companies to stop carrying the product. BPI has been forced to close three of its four factories and has laid off half of its workforce.
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