NCBA communicated the facts about beef safety and sustainability following the release of a scientifically flawed study from Consumer Reports on ground beef. The good news, according to NCBA Senior Executive Director of Science and Product Solutions Mandy Carr-Johnson, is the bacteria found in the Consumer Reports tests are not the type commonly associated with foodborne illness.
     “Ground beef is the safest it has ever been, with greater than 90% reductions in bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 and significant reductions in salmonella in recent years,” said Johnson.
     Johnson and other food safety experts expressed concern the magazine article and subsequent media coverage would mislead consumers into thinking organic or grass-fed beef are safer. According to USDA, the organic and grass-fed labels do not imply any additional safety factor. She stressed to media and consumers that all beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
     While Consumer Reports referred to organic and grass-fed as more sustainable options for consumers, NCBA, a contractor to the beef checkoff, pointed out those are marketing terms that are not an indicator of either sustainability or safety.
     Regarding the tenuous link established in the study between production method and antibiotic resistant bacteria, NCBA officials said there is no indication Consumer Reports verified whether any of the beef samples actually came from animals that received antibiotics.

NCBA is aggressively working to nullify the Waters of the U.S. Rule. KLA Communications Program Manager Scarlett Hagins says this was a main topic of discussion during the August 20 KLA/K-State Ranch Management Field Day.