American Meat Institute Executive Vice President James Hodges recently testified before the Canadian House of Commons Subcommittee on Food Safety saying the meat and poultry industry has made great food safety progress in recent years and continues to do so. Hodges told the subcommittee that illnesses related to consumption of meat and poultry have declined.
Hodges said the U.S. and Canadian meat and poultry industries support and use a strong federal inspection system but notes only the industry can produce safe food. He says there's no certainty food products are free from all risks but that progress has and is being made. Hodges also noted that the industry has been a supporter of a preventative approach, petitioning USDA to mandate HACCP plans in meat and poultry plants, which has helped enhance meat and poultry safety.
U.S. data show the industry has reduced the occurrence of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef by 45% to less than 0.5% since 2000 and that of Listeria in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products by 74% to less than 0.4%. The illnesses associated with these pathogens have also declined since 2000, with those caused by E. coli down by 40% and Listeriosis down by 10%.