Beef Products Inc. has filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News for its coverage of a meat product that critics dubbed "pink slime," alleging the network misled consumers to believe the product is unhealthy and unsafe.
BPI, a Dakota Dunes, S.D. based company, is asking for $1.2 billion in damages for an estimated 200 "false and misleading and defamatory" statements about their product.
The lawsuit, filed in a South Dakota court Thursday, also accuses ABC News of improper interference with the relationships between BPI and its customers.
BPI attorney Dan Webb says the reports led consumers to believe the beef is not meat, but an unhealthy slime unfit for human consumption.
ABC News senior vice president Jeffrey W. Schneider says the lawsuit has no merit.
The lawsuit comes after the term "pink slime" brought the nation's attention to the beef producers and their products. Company officials have long insisted that the product is safe and healthy.
BPI blames the closure of three of its plants and roughly 700 layoffs on the "pink slime" debacle.