“(The meat industry) has invested tens of millions of dollars over the last ten years in research programs to make our products safer. And they've shared the results in a non-competitive environment, so we can spread the knowledge throughout the industry,” AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle said during an appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that aired last night.

The segment, entitled “Beef: Safe or Scary,” was prompted by the recent New York Times article on ground beef safety by investigative reporter Michael Moss that ran on October 4 ("Woman's Shattered Life Shows Ground Beef Inspection Flaws").

Boyle was part of a large panel of guests that included attorney Bill Marler, former U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Food Safety Elsa A. Murano, Ph.D., Colin Campbell, Ph.D., of Cornell University, Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D., a professor at theUniversity of Connecticut and chef Anthony Bourdain.

During the segment, Boyle noted that while the industry has a great deal of sympathy and empathy for those affected by E. coliO157:H7, the positive development is that these kinds of tragic illnesses are decreasing in America. “These illnesses are down 60 percent in the last 10 years,” Boyle said. “And the reason for that reduction in E. coli related illnesses is because the incidence of that pathogen in our beef products has dropped by 45 percent during that same 10-year period and that's not just a random development. It's because of investment, technology, research, more sophisticated process control. So we are making significant progress in taking a very safe food supply and making it even safer.”

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