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"Our findings show the vast majority of Americans do not understand there are feces on meat and poultry," says PCRM staff attorney Mindy Kursban. "In fact, there's a major disconnect in the public consciousness between the foodborne illnesses that sicken so many of us and their originating cause: animal excrement."
Survey respondents answered the following question: "When salmonella and other disease-causing bacteria are found on meat and poultry, which of the following do you think BEST describes where these bacteria originally came from?"
The answers were as follows:
|"They [foodborne pathogens] came from animal blood."||10 percent|
|"They came from dirty hands."||19 percent|
|"They are naturally present in the meat."||17 percent|
|"They are naturally present in the animal's skin."||9 percent|
|"They came from animal feces."||16 percent|
|"They came from dirty air in a slaughter house."||15 percent|
|Didn't think any of these were the right answer or didn't know.||13 percent|
Statistically, respondents with college degrees, a household income equal to or greater than $50,000, or residence in a metropolitan area were more likely to know that feces are the originating source of disease-causing bacteria.
The survey's release coincides with PCRM's filing of a petition calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect consumers against feces-contaminated poultry and meat.
PCRM's petition asks the government to declare feces an adulterant-an action that would greatly strengthen federal meat safety regulations. PCRM also proposes that until the government can guarantee Americans feces-free food, all poultry and meat products should carry a biohazard label. Such a procedure is similar to how medical waste is treated.Founded in 1985, PCRM is a national health organization dedicated to promoting preventive medicine and higher standards in medical research, education, and practice.