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October 13, 2009

The Meat Debate Continues - What you didn't see last night

Posted: 04:39 PM ET

From Patrick Boyle, President of the American Meat Institute

For the record, the meat industry has made great strides in improving the safety of our products:

1. According to USDA, despite changes in the government’s program that have made E. coli testing much more sensitive, the incidence of E. coli 0157:H7 in ground beef declined 45 percent since 2000 and now occurs at a rate of less than one half of one percent.

2. According to the Centers for the Disease Control, E. coli O157:H7 infections in people have decreased by 44 percent since 2000.

3. The Institute has worked very hard to bring new food safety technologies on line to further enhance the safety of meat products, but USDA must approve these new technologies and often this approval is slow in coming. Carcass irradiation – a process that might be used to help reduce or eliminate pathogens on carcasses – is a technology that AMI petitioned for five years ago, but USDA has failed to respond positively or negatively, a fact that is terribly frustrating.

All of statistics mentioned above and last night are public, government data and can be viewed in user friendly charts here.  CLICK HERE to view them.

The meat industry has a single mindedness when it comes to E. coli O157:H7: we want to eliminate it. However, like other facts of nature, even when there is a will, there is not always a way to do that 100 percent of the time. We will not stop trying.

(For Bill Marler's Opinion Click Here)

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