Critics called the lean, finely-textured meat product "pink slime," and now a South Dakota firm has sued ABC News over its coverage of the product.

The Associated Press carried the story of the lawsuit filed in Union County Circuit Court in Elk Point on Thursday:

By GRANT SCHULTE
Associated Press
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - 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.

The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based company is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for roughly 200 "false and misleading and defamatory" statements about the 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. ABC News is owned by The Walt Disney Co.