A circuit judge has refused to throw out a defamation lawsuit against ABC News  related to its coverage of a meat product called lean, finely textured beef, which critics have dubbed "pink slime.''

Beef Products Incorporated sued the network in 2012 seeking $1.2 billion in damages.  BPI says ABC's coverage led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs by misleading consumers into believing the product is unsafe.

Attorneys for ABC say the network in each of its broadcasts stated the FDA 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.