Washington, DC, May 14, 2015 – The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) was pleased Thursday at the release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) FoodNet data showing significant declines in Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157 and Salmonella Typhimurium, while also noting that there is more work to do to decrease foodborne illness rates from all foods.
“The CDC data is another strong indication that industry and government efforts are working to reduce foodborne illnesses from major pathogens of concern which is consistent with major declines in pathogen rates we’ve seen on meat and poultry products in recent years, said Betsy Booren, Ph.D., NAMI vice president of scientific affairs. “We’re committed to working with the government to continue these improvements and seek out ways to lower foodborne illnesses across all foods.”
Recent reductions in pathogen rates on meat and poultry products include a 93 percent reduction of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef since 2000, significant reductions in Salmonella across a majority of meat and poultry products and a greater than 80 percent reduction in Listeria monocytogenes in ready-eat-meat products. In fact, there has not been a federal recall related to listeriosis associated with meat and poultry products in more than a decade.
The NAMI Foundation has been one of the leaders in funding research to reduce foodborne illnesses in the meat and poultry industry. The Foundation’s Food Safety Initiative goal is to reduce and ultimately eradicate Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in fresh beef, and Salmonella in meat and poultry products. Since the Initiative was launched in 1999, the NAMI Foundation has funded nearly nine million dollars in food safety research projects aimed at identifying practical food safety strategies. NAMI Foundation peer-taught workshops, such as the Advanced Listeria monocytogenes Intervention & Control Workshop, have also trained thousands of industry members.
Industry’s efforts have complemented the work of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), once again affirming our common goal of a safe meat and poultry supply. FSIS meat and poultry inspectors are present in U.S. meat packing plants and in poultry plants every day and are empowered to take action when problems occur.
“The efforts of industry and government together have yielded real and measurable benefits for America’s public health,” Dr. Booren said. “We can continue to improve with further research into the relationships between pathogen reductions and foodborne illness rates to determine the true risks from foods.”