ABC News Settles Beef Industry Lawsuit Over 'Pink Slime' Coverage

Back in 2012 the nation started looking suspiciously at its hamburgers after an ABC News investigative report introduced the idea that "pink slime" was being used as hamburger filler at quick-service chains and in school cafeterias around the country. It was not an appetizing report, and after it aired various schools, chain restaurants, and supermarkets all vowed that they would stop using "pink slime" forever. The beef industry responded by filing a defamation suit against ABC News, and now that $5.7 billion lawsuit has been settled between ABC News and Beef Products Inc.

According to Business Insider, the terms of the settlement are secret. ABC News reportedly called the settlement an "amicable resolution" while BPI's lawyer said the company was "vindicated."

Although in its report ABC News said that the "pink slime," which looks like a bubblegum-pink paste, was not dangerous to eat, BPI asserted that merely by naming the product "pink slime," ABC's report had prejudiced customers against the product. BPI calls the product "lean finely textured beef." It's made of beef trimmings, or what's left after every other useable piece of cow meat has been taken away, mixed with ammonia to kill off bacteria.

BPI said that as a result of ABC News allegedly ignoring the "proper name" of its lean finely textured beef and calling it "pink slime," it had to close three plants and lay off 700 workers.


ABC maintained that it was educating consumers about what they might be eating without knowing about it.

The terms of the settlement have not been revealed, but the case could have been worth $5.7 billion if BPI had won.

Click here to see 10 of the most expensive chef lawsuits and how they turned out.