Who's afraid of pink slime?

The Bottom Line on Pink Slime
Labels for LFTB will enable consumers to make a choice whether to consume the filler.
Labels for LFTB will enable consumers to make a choice whether to consume the filler.

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.

Related Articles


  • ABC News. Video. "Pink Slime and You." (April 26, 2012) http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/pink-slime-15873068
  • Avila, Jim. "Are LFTB or 'Pink Slime' Safety Claims Meaningful to Consumers?" April 3, 2012. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/04/are-lftb-or-pink-slime-safety-claims-meaningful-to-consumers/
  • Barclay, Eliza. "Is It Safe To Eat 'Pink Slime'?" NPR. (April 22, 2012) http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/03/09/148298678/is-it-safe-to-eat-pink-slime
  • Beef Products. (April 23, 2012) http://www.beefproducts.com
  • Boyle, J. Patrick. President, American Meat Institute. Press Release. "Statement of the American Meat Institute About Impact of 'Pink Slime' Scare Campaign." March 26, 2012. http://www.meatami.com/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/76702
  • Forer, Ben. "Where to Get 'Pink-Slime'-Free Beef." ABC News. March 21, 2012. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/03/where-to-get-pink-slime-free-beef/
  • FoxNews.com. "'Pink Slime' is Good for America's School Children, Manufacturers Claim." (April 21, 2012) http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/12/pink-slime-is-good-for-americas-schoolchildren-manufacturers-claim/#ixzz1tHJlW7Os
  • Hagen, Dr. Elisabeth, Under Secretary for Food Safety. "Setting the Record Straight on Beef." USDA. March 22, 2012. http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/03/22/setting-the-record-straight-on-beef/
  • Knowles, David. "Defending 'Pink Slime'." The Daily. March 12, 2012. http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/03/12/031212-news-pink-slime-1-2/
  • Moss, Michael. "Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned." The New York Times. December 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&hp
  • Piller, Dan. "Beef Industry Braces for Loss of 'Pink Slime' Filler" USA Today. March 27, 2012. http://yourlife.usatoday.com/fitness-food/safety/story/2012-03-27/Beef-industry-braces-for-loss-of-pink-slime-filler/53802154/1
  • PR Newswire. "Statement of the American Meat Institute About Impact of 'Pink Slime' Scare Campaign." March 26, 2012. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/statement-of-the-american-meat-institute-about-impact-of-pink-slime-scare-campaign-144284635.html
  • Radford, Benjamin. "Pink Slime: Psychology of the Ick Factor." Discovery News. (April 25, 2012) http://news.discovery.com/human/pink-slime-psychology-120319.html
  • Reuters. "'Pink Slime' Forces Beef Processor into Bankruptcy." April 2, 2012. "http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46926159/ns/business-us_business/t/pink-slime-forces-beef-processor-bankruptcy/#.T5sqadWjJCo
  • Siegel, Bettina. Petition. "Tell USDA to STOP Using Pink Slime in School Food!" Change.org. (April 22, 2012) http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-usda-to-stop-using-pink-slime-in-school-food
  • TheLunchTray.com. (April 26, 2012) http://www.thelunchtray.com.
  • USA Today. "Editorial: Lean beef or pink slime? It's all in a name." (April 23, 2012) http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2012-04-01/pink-slime-lean-beef/53933770/1
  • USDA. "USDA Announces Additional Choices for Beef Products in the Upcoming School Year." March 15, 2012. http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/03/0094.xml&contentidonly=true
  • Vanderlinden, Colleen. "Two Main Ingredients in Some Ground Beef." (April 25 2012) https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/pinkslime-ammonia-ground-beef.htm

More to Explore