A South Dakota beef producer on Thursday filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News, claiming the broadcaster unfairly disparaged its beef additive by labeling it “pink slime.”

Beef Products Inc., (BPI) a closely held company, filed its lawsuit in a South Dakota state court seeking at least $1.2 billion in damages under a state law that gives agricultural companies the ability to sue when their products are criticized. The statute requires BPI to prove that ABC News knew what it was reporting was false and intended to harm the company. The company makes what the industry calls “lean, finely textured beef.”

Dan Webb, a lawyer representing BPI, said ABC defamed its products by simply calling the beef additive “pink slime.” Webb said BPI blames ABC for causing consumers to believe the product “is some type of unhealthy and repulsive liquid product that is not even meat.” He said the additive is 100-percent beef.

ABC News Senior Vice President Jeffrey Schneider said, “The lawsuit is without merit. We will contest it vigorously.” Diane Sawyer, anchor of ABC’s World News, is also named as a defendant in the BPI lawsuit.

In 1998, TV host Oprah Winfrey won a court battle against Texas cattlemen when a federal jury decided that she did not slander the beef industry in a 1996 show on “mad cow” disease.