pink-slime-abc2A South Dakota judge has rejected ABC News’ bid to dismiss Beef Products Inc.’s “pink slime” defamation lawsuit, the Associated Press reports:

Attorneys for ABC say the network in each of its broadcasts stated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed the product safe to eat. They say BPI might not like the phrase “pink slime,” but like all ground beef, it’s pink and has a slimy texture.

In her Thursday ruling, Judge Cheryle Gering dismissed some claims but allowed most to go forward. Gering ruled that ABC isn’t protected against liability by saying in its news reports that the product is beef, is safe and is nutritious.

Jeffrey W. Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, noted that the ruling was on a preliminary motion to dismiss, not on the merits of the case. “We will defend our reporting vigorously on the merits,” Schneider said in a written statement.

BPI says the network’s coverage “led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs by misleading consumers into believing the product is unsafe.” The company seeks $1.2 billion in damages. [h/t Huffington Post Media]