Originally created 08/04/98

Asserts beef not only source of E coli 080498 - The Augusta Chronicle

As a cattle farmer, I have to respond to Arthur Caylor's July 11 letter regarding E coli and today's meat consumption. I wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. Caylor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1997 only seven percent of the confirmed cases of E coli 0157:H7 were attributed to ground beef. On top of the list were 108 illnesses traced to alfalfa sprouts. In 1996, of the 488 illnesses only four percent were traced to ground beef.

There were more cases attributed to apple juice, person-to-person transfer and swimming pools. E coli 0157:H7 contamination is not limited to beef. It is a pathogen that has triggered illness outbreaks in apple juice, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and strawberries. It can pass from human to human through poor personal hygiene in food preparation and especially by young children in wading pools. ...

The beef industry, i.e. farmers, receive not one iota of public funds to promote beef. Beef promotion is solely supported by an animal checkoff fund. Over $8.4 million have been used to combat E coli to date.

A healthy diet should include meat. I personally would dislike it if the essential nutrition my body needed only came from a pill. ... Cattle is 27 percent leaner than 10 years ago.

Cattle farmers raise much more than beef. Cow byproducts include over 300 pharmaceuticals that include insulin, blood clotters and pain and allergy medications. Beef byproducts are used in such products as detergents, film, wax, shaving cream, cosmetics, motor oil, buttons, asphalt and tires. ...

Farming is not a threat to the Earth. Farm land and farmers are disappearing. Millions of acres are taken over every year by development. Our once self-sustaining food supply is increasingly becoming more dependent on imported produce from sources not as safe as our own.

... Cattleman are determined to provide the public with high quality, safe and delicious beef and to be good stewards in the effort, not just because it is their livelihood and way of life, but because it is the right thing to do.

Robin W. Johnson, Norwood


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