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U.S. Meat and Poultry Products Are Safe; New Report's Focus on Meat and Poultry Only Lacks Total Diet ContextTuesday, April 23, 2013
Washington, DC - In response to a new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, American Meat Institute Foundation President James H. Hodges issued the following statement:
"U.S. meat and poultry companies produce 90 billion pounds of meat and poultry products a year and 99.99 percent of these are consumed safely.
A new and thorough report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) focuses only on the meat and poultry category. A broader examination of the total food supply could have delivered a more meaningful examination of food safety risk from our normal diets and would have shown that we have a meat and poultry supply that delivers consistently safe eating experiences.
In fact, when CSPI looked more broadly at the food supply in the outbreak analysis they released last month, they noted declines in foodborne outbreaks related to E. coli, Salmonella, and other pathogens of more than 40 percent. "Better food safety practices, notably the adoption of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) programs in the meat, poultry, and seafood industries, may have contributed to the decline," CSPI wrote.
"Seafood, poultry, and beef showed the sharpest decline in the number of reported outbreaks in the study period; the trend line is less steep, but still downward, for the numbers of illnesses linked to those outbreaks," the group also said. CSPI cited several other food categories that were not seeing the level of food safety progress that the U.S. meat and poultry industry has achieved in the last decade.
We do agree with CSPI's perspective that better food attribution data is needed to understand the causes of foodborne illnesses and potential strategies for improvement.
While we are always seeking to do better, our industry's food safety performance reflects commitment and continuous improvement. Consumers should continue to enjoy the meat and poultry products they normally choose and should continue to follow the safe handling instructions provided on all packages."
AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI’s members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the United States. The Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the meat and poultry packing and processing industry.
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