Settlement reached in 'pink slime' defamation lawsuit

The Beef Products Inc facility

After three weeks of trial in a South Dakota courtroom, ABC and Beef Products Inc. reached a settlement in a defamation lawsuit over a series of news reports on the meat producer's use of lean, finely textured beef product - sometimes referred to by its detractors as "pink slime".

ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend said in a statement that the network has "reached an amicable resolution of its dispute with the makers" of the beef product.

Dan Webb, an attorney for BPI, told CNNMoney his clients were "extraordinarily pleased to have reached a settlement".

Terms of the settlement are confidential.

The trial began earlier this month in Elk Point, South Dakota. Avila said after the case was settled that the company was not retracting his stories or apologizing, and his 2012 "pink slime" reports remained on the ABC News website.

In its statement on Wednesday, ABC indicated that it stood by its reporting.

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BPI's signature product, commonly mixed into ground beef, is made from beef chunks, including trimmings, and exposed to bursts of ammonium hydroxide to kill E. coli and other contaminants. BPI and its family owners say that the lawsuit was hard, but necessary to start rectifying the harm suffered as a result of ABC's reports on their product, which critics dubbed "pink slime".

Also called "lean finely textured beef", pink slime is a meat byproduct. BPI didn't immediately respond to telephone messages requesting comment.

"We're not retracting anything".

The actual damages BPI was seeking could have been as high as $1.9 billion, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing from Disney, which owns ABC. "There are real consequences to that for real people".

The attorneys that were here for ABC News did leave very quickly after adjourned.

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