Common potential concerns about beef safety Q & A

Are E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks becoming more frequent?   

No. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the nationwide incidence of common foodborne illnesses like E. coli O157:H7 have not changed significantly in the last three years. Additionally, between 1996 and 2004, the incidence of E. coli O157:H7 infections decreased 25 percent.

Is there manure in my meat?   

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service maintains a zero tolerance for manure or any other contamination on carcasses and especially in meat. Inspectors check continuously to ensure compliance and reject carcasses if this policy is violated. In addition to strict government regulations, companies use science-based intervention technologies such as hot water washes, steam vacuums and sophisticated testing regimens to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of beef products.

Is organic food or locally-produced food safer than “conventional” food?   

No. All beef in the United States is subject to the same stringent government regulations and inspection procedures that ensure safety. While beef producers provide a range of different products that consumers demand, safety is the common denominator among every kind of beef you buy.

Do antibiotics used in the livestock industry cause resistance in humans and leave residues in the food supply?   

All antibiotics used in beef production go through a rigorous testing process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that helps protect human health and gives veterinarians and beef producers the tools needed to keep animals healthy. In addition, by law, no beef with antibiotic residues exceeding FDA standards is allowed in the food supply.

More information:

E. coli 0157:H7 Fact Sheet

Antibiotic use in cattle production

Antibiotic approval process

Beef Safety Today