Zero Tolerance to Acceptable Risk

Zero Tolerance to Acceptable Risk
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The fish and poultry industries propose moving from a zero tolerance policy on certain dangerous foodborne pathogens to an “acceptable risk” policy—given how widely contaminated their products are with potentially deadly fecal bacteria.

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According to the latest published national Retail Meat Report, more than 80% of retail chicken breasts sold in the United States are contaminated with fecal matter—up from about 70% seven years before. 80% fecal contamination, and that’s completely legal.

But there are a few bugs for which there is zero tolerance. That does not make the meat industry happy. As the president of the Seafood Importers and Processors Association wrote in their article “Beyond zero tolerance: a new approach to food safety,” they propose a “risk-based approach instead of a precautionary approach.”

From a recent article about raw poultry, instead of zero tolerance, “Alternative terminology should be used…such as ‘acceptable’ or ‘tolerable’ risk..” Instead of zero tolerance policies on potentially deadly bacteria on chicken, they propose ALOP, an “appropriate level of protection,” an acceptable risk—a certain “number of cases per 100,000 population per year associated with a specific hazard in a [particular] food commodity.”

“Given the nature of the poultry industry, controls that are currently applied will not guarantee the absence of Salmonella from raw poultry.” It’s just the way we raise chickens. Therefore, using terms such as “zero tolerance or absence of a microbe in relation to raw poultry should [therefore] be avoided.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

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According to the latest published national Retail Meat Report, more than 80% of retail chicken breasts sold in the United States are contaminated with fecal matter—up from about 70% seven years before. 80% fecal contamination, and that’s completely legal.

But there are a few bugs for which there is zero tolerance. That does not make the meat industry happy. As the president of the Seafood Importers and Processors Association wrote in their article “Beyond zero tolerance: a new approach to food safety,” they propose a “risk-based approach instead of a precautionary approach.”

From a recent article about raw poultry, instead of zero tolerance, “Alternative terminology should be used…such as ‘acceptable’ or ‘tolerable’ risk..” Instead of zero tolerance policies on potentially deadly bacteria on chicken, they propose ALOP, an “appropriate level of protection,” an acceptable risk—a certain “number of cases per 100,000 population per year associated with a specific hazard in a [particular] food commodity.”

“Given the nature of the poultry industry, controls that are currently applied will not guarantee the absence of Salmonella from raw poultry.” It’s just the way we raise chickens. Therefore, using terms such as “zero tolerance or absence of a microbe in relation to raw poultry should [therefore] be avoided.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

Unfortunately there’s no zero tolerance policy on meat for our nation’s leading foodborne killer, Salmonella—see Fecal Bacteria Survey. For more surveys on how much of the American meat supply is contaminated with fecal matter and foodborne pathogens, see Fecal Contamination of SushiFecal Residues on ChickenChicken Out of UTIsU.S. Meat Supply Flying at Half Staph; and MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat. Salmonella-infected eggs also sicken more than 100,000 Americans every year; see Total Recall. The industry, however, continues to blame the victim; see Unsafe at Any Feed.

Also, be sure to check out my associated blog post: Why is it Legal to Sell Unsafe Meat?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

 

12 responses to “Zero Tolerance to Acceptable Risk

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  1. Unfortunately there’s no
    zero tolerance policy on meat for our nation’s leading foodborne killer,
    Salmonella—see Fecal
    Bacteria Survey
    . For more surveys on how much of the American meat
    supply is contaminated with fecal matter and foodborne pathogens, see Fecal
    Contamination of Sushi
    , Fecal
    Residues on Chicken
    , Chicken
    Out of UTIs
    , U.S.
    Meat Supply Flying at Half Staph
    , and MRSA
    in U.S. Retail Meat
    . Salmonella-infected eggs also sicken more than
    100,000 Americans every year, see Total
    Recall
    . The industry, however, continues to blame the victim. See
    Unsafe
    at Any Feed
    . There are still more than a thousand
    other topics
    pertaining to diet and disease.

  2. Regarding meat and poultry: We have a product, that has to be handled with caution, there is risk of acute intolerence (poisoning), there are severe cronic sideeffects (cancer, stroke, cardiocascular disease, diabetes) – hence I recommend that this product becomes a prescription drug (product). You have to be fully informed of the dangers and the benefits (none) before you consume it. :-)

    1. And you will now have to go to your Family Physician to get a prescription for the meat of your choice!  Now their talkin’!

        1. Like Osteoclastic Inhibitors if I deemed it a medical necessity I would prescribe it.  But I almost never prescribe that class of drugs and I could quarantee I would probably never Rx meat out.  But like the “Medical Marijuana” there will be those groups of doctors making a mint off meat!  Kinda like the Cardiologists did about 15-20 years
          ago ;-}

          1. Stefan and HemoDynamic:  You guys crack me up.

            Stefan:  You comment yesterday has to be the quote of the year.  I’m sharing it with my agency’s “Foodie Club” (where I show people Dr. Greger’s videos during lunch…)  Thanks!

  3. Another great reason to stop eating animal products.  I did it more than two years ago.  There is alot of effort to regain our food sovereignty by forcing policy, but the ultimate magic wand for all of these problems lies squarely in the hands of the individual.  Realize that most of the so called arguments we have against personal power where food justice and a healthy world are concerned are really just excuses that we were programmed to respond with.  Explore your local food markets and help  your local economy.  It is your choice. Eat healthy food and you propagate healthy food.  Or continue to chose to support the out of control factory farms…the growing problems are inevitable, predictable, and the responsibility of the consumer.   

  4. Another approach the industry takes to avoid responsibility is the concept of credible deniability. In one large dairy industry for which I worked they purposely did not assay for listeria because they knew if they did that they would find it.

    E. Wein Ph.D.

  5. This is bull shit! Their saying let smokers smoke and don’t put risks on the pack. I say we put big labels on meat saying possible risk in future of cancer or heart attack just like with cigarettes, and put a tax on these tor. 

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