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FOOD: Industry, regulators should ensure meat safety

Letter by Nicole M. Gurtler, Annie E. Kaufman, Kristen A. Powers, Bellevue on April 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm | No Comments »
April 24, 2013 3:23 pm

Re: “Study: Chicken, ground beef are riskiest meats” (thenewstribune.com, 4-23).

The Associated Press piece on “riskiest meats” brings up vital issues surrounding food production in the U.S., but overemphasizes “defensive eating.” This approach unfairly obligates consumers to personally ensure the safety of products that have already passed industry and government standards.

Individuals should always take precautions when handling raw meat, however, they should be able to have confidence in animal products approved and regulated by the FDA and USDA.

With the Centers for Disease Control estimating that one in six Americans contracts a foodborne illness annually, it’s imprudent to assume that consumers themselves can prevent all illness. These alarming statistics raise concerns over slaughterhouse production processes and proper sanitation. Such health hazards related to meat processing should be addressed as symptoms of greater societal issues rather than individual concerns.

It should remain the responsibility of the company and regulatory agencies to ensure quality products for families, and this discrepancy points to larger issues with labeling and industry standards.

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