Dear Editor,

In her letter “Letter to the Editor: Industry supporter out of line on line speeds,” (https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2020/11/letter-to-the-editor-industry-supporter-out-of-line-on-line-speeds/) Jessica Chapman offers her ad hominem opinion that I am “an industry supporter whose research is harmful to public health” and mistakenly claims that I based my recent publication “Higher Line Speed in Young Chicken Slaughter Establishments Does Not Predict Increased Salmonella Contamination Risks” (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579120307367) on what she describes as “fundamentally flawed data.”

To support her claims, Ms. Chapman cites various opinion pieces, blogs, and affidavits (https://foodwhistleblower.org/education-outreach/public-resources/). But the data referred to in these sources is obsolete, and is not what my study used. Thus, Ms. Chapman’s argument is based on a mistaken premise. As explained in my article, the data I relied on were newly collected, from July 2, 2018, to July 12, 2019, and they included answers to survey questions developed specifically for this study. Thus, Ms. Chapman’s concerns about data and practices from earlier years and decades, including her references to affidavits from 2012, are not pertinent to the data I analyzed or to the validity of my data, analyses, and conclusions.

Ms. Chapman labels me “an industry supporter.” I consider myself instead to be a science supporter. I have worked extensively for both public and private sectors, seeking to apply sound and objective methods of data analysis, machine learning, and traditional scientific method to discover objective scientific truth from data, no matter whose policy interests it may be perceived as supporting or opposing. This has sometimes been controversial, as Ms. Chapman notes. But I believe that the public interest is better served by adhering to objective scientific method, no matter where it leads, than by relying on ad hominem attacks, personal judgments, or obsolete objections to irrelevant data. This perspective is more fully developed elsewhere (https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030573577). I believe that those who favor fact-based decision-making should consider recent relevant data without being deterred by Ms. Chapman’s inaccurate objections to “fundamentally flawed data” that do not address the data I actually used.

 — Louis Anthony Cox, Jr., Ph.D.
Cox Associates and University of Colorado

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