When surveyed, U.S. consumers consistently rank food safety as the top concern when it comes to keeping their families healthy. What they may not realize, however, is that pork is very safe when making a protein choice for daily meals, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“According to the CDC report, pork is the safest meat choice a consumer can make,” said Dr. Steve Larsen, Pork Checkoff’s director of pork safety. “Our industry has an ongoing commitment to improving food safety from farm to fork. The procedures in place at the farm level, such as Pork Quality Assurance Plus production practices, help to ensure farmers are working with their veterinarians to keep pigs healthy as they enter the food chain.”
In the new report, issued jointly with the CDC, USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, four main food pathogens were reviewed and modeled for their impact on food safety. These included Salmonella, E. Coli (O157), Campylobacter and Listeria monocytogenes. Of these, Salmonella had the highest number of related foodborne illnesses in the past five years at 45 percent. Pork had the lowest incidence of Salmonella-related illness among all meat or vegetable choices at only 8%.
“This report is based on the best and most recent data available,” Larsen said. “It clearly shows the strong overall safety profile pork has among all other food choices consumers have today, including vegetable-based meals. However, we’re committed to reducing foodborne pathogens even further through our dedication to continuous improvement.”