Washington, D.C. – Continuing reductions in foodborne illnesses in the United States announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today correspond to continuing reductions in pathogenic bacteria on meat and poultry products, according to the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF).
said that infections from E. coli O157:H7 are
down 42 percent since the baseline years of
1996-1998. Over the same time period, USDA has
observed a sustained decline in the positive
samples of E. coli O157:H7 in its ground beef
sampling program. Just last month, USDA
announced a 43.3 percent drop in positive E.
coli O157:H7 tests in the ground beef samples
tested by USDA. CDC said today that the U.S.
has achieved its Healthy People 2010 goal of
less than one E. coli O157:H7 infection per
100,000 people five years ahead of
CDC also said that listeriosis
cases declined 40 percent since the baseline
years. This corresponds to a sustained decline
in the incidence of Listeria monocytogenes on
ready-to-eat meat and poultry products,
according to USDA data.
gratified to see that foodborne illnesses
continue to trend downward – the same way
pathogenic bacteria on many meat and poultry
products are trending downward,” said AMIF
President James H. Hodges. The AMI Foundation
conducts research and education programs aimed
at reducing and ultimately eliminating
foodborne bacteria on meat and poultry
products. For the past decade, AMIF has
conducted millions of dollars in research to
find ways to enhance meat and poultry safety
– research that has been applied with
enormous success in meat and poultry plants
nationwide. The meat industry has developed
and shared best practices aimed at making meat
products safer for consumers.
to Hodges, increasing consumer awareness about
ways to handle food and prevent foodborne
illness is contributing to these encouraging
public health trends. He detailed some of the
most important food safety steps consumers can
take when handling meat and poultry:
Cool it – Keep cold foods cold and hot
foods hot. "With hot weather approaching, be
sure to refrigerate meat and poultry promptly
after purchasing at the grocery store," Hodges
said. "Delaying the trip home increases food
temperatures and allows any bacteria that are
present to multiply."
• Clean it
– Wash hands, utensils, cutting boards and
other items that have come into contact with
raw meat and poultry with hot, soapy water.
• Separate – Keep raw foods
separate from cooked foods to avoid cross
contamination. “Be sure to get a clean plate
when removing cooked foods from the barbecue.
Don’t use the same plate to hold cooked food
that once held raw meat and poultry,” Hodges
said. “And be sure to discard remaining
• Cook it – Meat
and poultry products should be thoroughly
cooked prior to consuming them. Hodges urged
consumers to use instant-read thermometers to
ensure doneness, particularly when cooking
ground products like hamburgers, which must be
cooked to 160 degrees F. “Never rely on
internal color because it can be misleading,"
he said. "And never eat or even taste raw
Hodges said that
children, pregnant women, immuno-compromised
people and older Americans are at greater risk
of contracting foodborne illnesses. They and
their caregivers are encouraged to visit
www.meatsafety.org for more detailed safe
handling information about meat and poultry
“These new data tell us that
the steps the industry has taken are working,
but we are not prepared to declare victory.
Rather, the data will encourage us to sustain
our efforts at identifying new and better
technologies to make meat and poultry even
safer,” Hodges said.
U.S. Meat and Poultry Industry Gratified by CDC Data Showing Declines in Foodborne IllnessThursday, April 14, 2005
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