Oprah judge throws out 'veggie libel' defamation

A federal judge in Amarillo, Texas, has thrown out the "veggie libel" aspects of a defamation case against TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey. The trial will continue on Wednesday as a common-law business disparagement case.

So-called "veggie libel laws" exist in Texas and a dozen other states.

The laws are intended to prevent uninformed challenges to the wholesomeness of food products. They allow producers to sue those who falsely disparage the products.

The case before the court involves an April 1996 Oprah program on mad cow disease. Some Texas cattlemen blamed the Winfrey program for a drop in beef prices.