U.S. Beef Is a Safe and Nutritious Choice For ConsumersWednesday, June 15, 2011
“Given the knowledge gaps that exist regarding non-O157:H7 STEC, it is particularly concerning that some policymakers and bloggers are advocating solutions without first scoping out the problem,” said AMI Executive Vice President James H. Hodges. “Effective public health efforts are built upon a solid foundation of understanding. Bacteria don’t respond to legislative and regulatory bans. A rush toward these types of ‘solutions’ during an emotional time when significant knowledge gaps remain will not create the food safety progress that policymakers – and food makers – seek.”
Despite some domestic anxiety stemming from
the outbreak in Europe, AMI said that
Hodges further noted that the AMI Foundation has been proactive in its research efforts aimed at identifying strategies to destroy these strains of non-O157:H7 E. coli. These projects supplement other work ongoing at research institutions and together, the data indicate that the food safety strategies that have helped reduce E. coli O157:H7 in beef work equally well against all strains.
“The food safety interventions and process controls in place today do not discriminate,” Hodges said. “They clearly are effective against all strains of E. coli, including non-O157:H7 STEC.
AMI has long advocated a measured, scientific approach to the potential risk posed by all STEC strains, including non-O157:H7 STEC. That sentiment was captured in an August 2010 letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in which AMI recommended eight strategies that would help build future public policy efforts on a sound foundation. Those strategies included:
- Completing a nationwide baseline to
understand the incidence and origins of
non-O157 STEC in meat;
- Conducting a public health assessment to
improve understanding of how non-O157 STEC
impact the public health and why;
- Convening a group of experts in the field
to analyze the science surrounding non-O157
STEC and develop preventive strategies;
- Validating test methodologies because issues remain with testing methodology and confirmation procedures as it is critically important to have tests that will provide accurate results in a timely fashion.
To read the entire letter to Secretary Vilsack, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/d/ArticleDetails/i/62189
“Ensuring that our products are as safe as we can make them is ethically appropriate and good business,” Hodges said. “We want our customers to enjoy safe and nutritious products throughout their lives and that means we must stay vigilant at all times in meeting emerging food safety challenges. That is exactly what we are doing.”
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