Just as the “swine flu” misnomer for the H1N1 virus had an economic impact on the swine industry, the pejorative “pink slime” is causing notable impact on the beef industry, said a University of Missouri Extension economist.

The correct term is “lean finely textured beef” or LFTB, says Ron Plain of MU Extension Commercial Agriculture. LFTB is what its name implies: finely ground beef that is low in fat. It is mixed with high-fat beef trimmings to reduce the fat ratio of hamburger meat.

“The LFTB is actually a safer product than the ground beef it is added to,” Plain said. “However, perception is everything. Eating is both necessary for life and fun. It is a social activity. When a less appetizing name is attached to something I normally enjoy, the unappealing name takes away some of my pleasure.”