‘Pink Slime’ Could Cost ABC News $5 Billion

SOUTH DAKOTA  --  The Pink Slime trial began on Monday in a South Dakota court room.

Ground beef supplier BPI is suing ABC News for defamation. In 2012, the news station aired a report in which someone referred to one of BPI's chief products--lean, finely textured beef--as "pink slime." The ground beef product is made by using a machine to separate small pieces of beef from bones, then treating that meat chemically and grinding it.

The product had been sold for decades without concern before the ABC News report. After the report aired, BPI lost buyers including fast food chains. The company was forced to shut down three plants, including one in Waterloo. ABC said major food chains including McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell stopped using the BPI products before the broadcast aired.

Additionally, an ABC spokesperson released a statement saying, “We believe in the principle that people deserve to know what’s in the food they eat and are confident that when all the facts are presented in court, ABC’s reporting will be fully vindicated.”

BPI is asking for $5 billion in damages.