The meat industry is suing ABC for $1.2 billion in a pink slime lawsuit, claiming the news network's coverage of the meat industry's "pink slime" (otherwise known as "lean finely textured beef") product was untrue, costing the industry hundreds of millions in profits.
The defamation lawsuit filed by Beef Products Inc. charges that ABC News acted with malice in its spring report of the meat product, leading consumers to believe the meat product was unsafe.
Also included in the lawsuit? ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, two other reporters, and the former United States Department of Agriculture microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein, the man said to have dubbed the meat product "pink slime."
"Pink slime" is actually a mixture of waste meat and fatty parts from high-quality cuts of beef that have had the fat mechanically removed. Afterwards, it's treated with ammonia gas to kill harmful bacteria, and is then typically added to ground beef as a filler. No long-term health studies have yet determined whether pink slime is safe or not. Still, consumers overwhelming voted to avoid the product after the ABC News report, and McDonald's, Kroger, Safeway, Food Lion, and the National School Lunch Program were leaders in removing the product from their offerings.
If you'd like to avoid the product, choose organic ground beef. The National Organic Program standards prohibit the meat industry by-product. For more information, check out The 9 Nastiest Things in Your Supermarket.