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May 27, 2002

USA: American Meat Institute responds to allegations that beef testing is riddled with “breakdowns”

J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute (AMI), has responded to a report published last week by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, which alleged that the USDA salmonella testing programme is seriously flawed.  “Ground beef is safe and getting safer according to USDA data,” he insisted, “which show the bacteria levels on raw product have trended downward consistently thanks to new food safety technologies and new USDA meat inspection approaches.”

J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute (AMI), has responded to a report published last week by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, which alleged that the USDA salmonella testing programme is seriously flawed. 

“Ground beef is safe and getting safer according to USDA data,” he insisted, “which show the bacteria levels on raw product have trended downward consistently thanks to new food safety technologies and new USDA meat inspection approaches.”

Boyle insists that the report “is part of an annual anti-meat activist ritual designed to generate controversy and confusion among consumers just two days prior to the start of peak grilling season”.

“If the presence or absence of Salmonella on a raw product were a measure of whether a product is safe or unsafe, then the government would be forced to require that only canned and cooked foods be sold,” he added.

 “In a nation that reveres free speech, activists can say what they want to the media – there are no regulations on the accuracy of their statements”, added Boyle, “But the science, the law and the courts – as well as recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data showing a 15% drop in salmonellosis since 1996 – say exactly the opposite.”
 
To read about Public Citizen’s report, click here.

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