In response to the latest Center for Science in the Public Interest, CSPI, report that found ground beef and chicken at the top of the risky meat list that's prone to more outbreaks, the president of the American Meat Institute, AMI, bounced back stating their analysis lacked total diet context and focused only on the meat and poultry.

"U.S. meat and poultry companies produce 90 billion pounds of meat and poultry products a year and 99.99 percent of these are consumed safely," stated AMI President James H. Hodges.

"A broader examination of the total food supply could have delivered a more meaningful examination of food safety risk from our normal diets and would have shown that we have a meat and poultry supply that delivers consistently safe eating experiences.:

AMI pointed out that the past study that found declines in E. coli and Salmonella-­related outbreaks by more than 40 percent was possibly due to AMI's enforcement of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, HACCP, programs, which was designed to control hazards and promote safety in products including meat, poultry and seafood processed by industries.

CSPI's recent study ranked the riskiest meats and found that different bacterial cases contributed to foodborne outbreaks in meat, citing Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens as top culprits in chicken and beef.

"We do agree with CSPI's perspective that better food attribution data is needed to understand the causes of foodborne illnesses and potential strategies for improvement," Hodges stated.

"While we are always seeking to do better, our industry's food safety performance reflects commitment and continuous improvement. Consumers should continue to enjoy the meat and poultry products they normally choose and should continue to follow the safe handling instructions provided on all packages."

Sarah Klein, CSPI senior food safety attorney, said the meat industry should also bear responsibility, but when it comes to beef, chicken or other meats, "restaurateurs and home cooks must treat them like hazardous materials and take steps to minimize risks. Care should be taken to avoid spreading germs from the meat around the kitchen, and meat thermometers should be used to ensure that ground beef, chicken, and other meats are fully cooked."

AMI is a national trade association representing 95 percent of red meat and 70 percent of the turkey processing industries in the United States.

CSPI is a consumer advocate in health, nutrition, food safety and alcohol policy.