Each year in the United States approximately 1 in 6 Americans will contract a foodborne illness. In order to estimate the number of illnesses that are associated with a particular food product is defined by the CDC as foodborne illness source attribution. The CDC estimates that over 2 million illnesses can be attributed to the consumption of meat and poultry products each year including beef, pork, poultry and game meats. Meat can become contaminated anywhere along the food production chain with harmful bacterial, viral or parasitic pathogens. The top three bacterial pathogens that caused illness attributed to meat products last year were Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes.
On the 4th of July alone Americans consumed an estimated 155 million hot dogs and purchase 199 million pounds of red meat or pork. Over the 4th of July weekend the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) launched its "Grilling like a PRO" campaign to help teach families how to properly handle meat products to avoid contracting a foodborne illness. The agency recommends using a meat thermometer when barbecuing this summer in order to protect your friends and family from foodborne illness. To "grill like a PRO" follow these simple steps: P-place the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, R-read the temperature and ensure it reaches the appropriate temperature for the type of meat you are cooking, and O-off the grill be sure to put your meat on a clean plate that has not been touched by raw meat.
Sources: United States Dept. of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control, Statistic Brain