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AMI Unveils New Consumer Guide for Safe Handling of Ground Meat and Poultry

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Just in time for grilling season, the meat and poultry industry today unveiled a new consumer brochure that offers timely tips for safely handling and cooking ground meat and poultry.

The brochure, released jointly by the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF), National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation, aims to close a key knowledge gap among consumers: the proper internal temperature to ensure safety.

According to polling data conducted last week, only 13 percent of consumers could identify the proper internal temperature for a hamburger: 160 degrees F. Only six percent could identify the proper internal temperature for a poultry burger: 165 degrees F.

In addition, only six percent of consumers always use instant-read thermometers – a food safety strategy recommended by the federal government and leading food safety experts. A remarkable 78 percent of consumers said they never use them when cooking burgers. The polling was done May 17 to 19, 2005, by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, which conducted telephone interviews with 900 consumers.

“The good news is bacteria is lower than it ever has been on meat and poultry products thanks to new in-plant technologies that target and destroy bacteria,” said AMI Foundation President James H. Hodges. “However, meat and poultry products are perishable and consumers are urged to handle them according to safe handling instructions.”

The groups pointed out that whole, intact muscle cuts of meat and poultry are sterile inside and bacteria remains on the outside. However, when these cuts are ground, external bacteria can be distributed throughout the ground product, making it imperative that consumers cook ground meat and poultry thoroughly. New research has shown that color is not a good indicator of doneness and that instant-read thermometers should always be used.

The brochure also addresses other important strategies for ensuring food safety, including:

* Keep hot foods hot and colds foods cold – bacteria multiply when foods reach the temperature “mid-range.”
* Don’t Cross Contaminate -- Separate raw and cook foods and wash any items that have touched raw meat and poultry like cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water following use.
* Discard marinade used on raw meat and poultry.
* Use a clean plate to remove cooked foods from the grill. Never use the same plate that held raw meat and poultry unless it has been thoroughly washed in hot soapy water.

The brochure may be downloaded free from www.meatsafety.org < http://www.meatsafety.org/> . Hard copies are available by sending a stamped, self addressed business size envelope to Free Safe Handling Brochure, 1150 Connecticut Ave. NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC, 20036.


For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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