Report ranks 12 categories of meat from most to least risky

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A report by the Center for Science in Public Interest reviewed 33,000 cases of foodborne illnesses to find which meat and poultry categories are most likely to make consumers take a trip to the local hospital.

The analysis rated 12 meat and poultry categories, ranking them from the highest risk to the lowest, based on outbreak reports and the likelihood of hospitalizations associated with the pathogens most commonly reported in those foods. Information from 12 years and 1,700 outbreaks was used to calculate risk levels.

Risk levels show ground beef and chicken were rated the highest risk, followed by other cuts of beef, steak and turkey in the high risk category. Barbecue, deli meats, pork and roast beef received a medium risk ranking, and the meats said to be least risky were chicken nuggets, ham and sausage.

The report calls attention to bacterium, including E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, in the meat and shows the importance of cooking meats to required levels as well as taking other necessary precautions when preparing and storing food.

In response to the report, American Meat Institute Foundation President James H. Hodges says 99.9 percent of the 90 billion pounds of meat and poultry produced each year are consumed safely. He says a broader analysis of the entire food supply would put the CSPI’s findings in context and show we have a meat and poultry supply that delivers consistently safe eating experiences.

Hodges also calls attention to an analysis released by CSPI showing foodborne outbreaks related to E. coli, Salmonella, and other pathogens show declines of more than 40 percent, with beef and poultry showing the sharpest decline in reported outbreaks.

CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein said meat and poultry producers carry most of the responsibility in keeping pathogens out of their products, but restaurants and home cooks must follow necessary food safety steps when preparing meals.

“Care should be taken to avoid spreading germs from the meat around the kitchen, and meat thermometers should be used to ensure that ground beef, chicken, and other meats are fully cooked.”

CSPI added the study rates meat and poultry risk on a food safety level and nutrition and diet ratings would categorize the same products differently.

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Wyo  |  April, 23, 2013 at 07:27 PM

Why do you continue to post propaganda garbage? I can accept advertising posted as news items when they are from our industry's (beef in case you forgot) participants......but to give any credence toward an junk science agenda driven vegetarian promoting, money grubbing anti meat organization is unbelievable to me.

Ohio  |  April, 24, 2013 at 11:23 AM

It might help to be open to information even if it's disturbing to you. This agency has no financial gain whether people eat beef or tofu. It's about safety. Consumers want to know.

Beth Josolowitz    
Ohio  |  April, 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

It might help to be open to information even if it's disturbing. This agency has no financial gain whether folks eat beef or tofu. It's about health and safety. Consumers want to know,

Another Cry of Wolf    
Kentucky  |  April, 25, 2013 at 08:40 AM

EWG certainly does benefit by "financial gain" when they publish alarmist nonsense like this. It is how they suck in donations. By hatemongering and fearmongering. It sucks but it's what they do. What's worse is how so man people are taken in by it. They read EWG's silly crap and believe they now "know" something. These fools wouldn't "know" anything if it jumped up and bit the on the butt. They just lurch around believing first in this, then in that. All nonsense, all the time. That's the modern urban myth industry, no?


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