The 65-year old American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) claims progress is being made toward its goal of reducing and ultimately eliminating E. coli O157:H7 contamination in fresh beef and Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) contamination in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products.

In a “Ten Year Report” on its Food Safety Initiative, AMIF says the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 on fresh ground beef products has declined 45 percent since the year 2000.   During the same period, L. monocytogenes prevalence on ready-to-eat meat and poultry has declined 69 percent.

Further, AMIF says the incidence foodborne illnesses due to E. coli are down 44 percent, and L. monocytogenes three percent.  The 36-page report uses data from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make it progress claims.

Most of the Ten Year Report, however, focuses on AMIF-funded research it hopes will help it achieve its goals, which since 2004 also include an emphasis on reducing Salmonella in poultry.

AMIF has funded about $7 million in research since it began the Food Safety Initiative. In some ways, the ten-year-old project is a return to its roots.  In the era before companies had their own research kitchens, AMFI funded the laboratories and research of more than 50 scientists at the University of Chicago, where most meat science innovations of the time were discovered.

A few examples of the research AMFI has funded or is currently funding:

  • Role of Super-shedders in Determining Feedlot Pen Prevalence of E. coli O157:H7
  • Inactivation of E. coli O157:H7 in Drinking Water of Cattle by Sodium Caprylate
  • Reduction of E. coli O157:H7 in Beef Feedlot Cattle Using Varying Doses of Direct-Fed Microbial
  • White Paper on Non-O157: H7 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli from Meat and Non-Meat Sources
  • Controlling L. monocytogenes on RTE Meat and Poultry Products using Food-Approved Antimicrobials
  • A Systematic Review of Literature on Pork Chain Epidemiology