In truth, because of how the industry is set up, there's no way to tell for sure if LFTB has ever affected anyone's health. The USDA does not trace food poisoning origins to the processor, sources told ABC News.
And as horrible as pink slime sounds, there are some drawbacks to eliminating its use. Without LFTB, more cattle must be raised and slaughtered to meet the demand for ground beef. And of course cattle are often kept in less-than-desirable conditions, pumped with antibiotics and fed foods not natural to their diets, pointed out Robin Shreeves, writer for Mother Nature Network. Plus, there's the issue of lost jobs. Beef Products, Inc., has now closed three of its four plants, and another LFTB company, AFA Foods Inc., has filed for bankruptcy.
Nevertheless, understandably, people want to know what's in the food they eat, so the USDA endorsement of LFTB-related food labeling is generally viewed as a step in the right direction. The USDA claims its inspectors will certify that ground beef labeled as either "contains Lean Finely Textured Beef" or "LFTB free" is true to those words.
In the meantime, if you're looking for a pink-slime-free meal, check out this list of LFTB-free restaurants and supermarkets: "Where You Can Get 'Pink-Slime'-Free Beef." Otherwise, the best way to make sure you're ordering LFTB-free ground beef at the grocery is to take NPR's advice and have your butcher grind up a slab right in front of your eyes.