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Hot Topic: Last Night's Larry King Live, "Beef - Safe or Scary?"

larry-king.jpg Last night, Larry King Live aired a segment titled, "Beef - Safe or Scary?" This segment opened up with testimonies from consumers who had contracted E. coli O157:H7 and have died or become paralyzed. NCBA and the American Meat Institute worked hard with CNN producers to ensure a fair hour-long segment on this subject. In addition to the scary, but rare, stories presented in the opening minutes of the program, alternative, scientific opinions were shared. Watch the video or vote in the CNN poll, "Do you eat meat? Yes or no?" As of this morning, only 73% of voters say they eat meat, so link here to participate now.

University of Connecticut Nutritional Sciences Professor Nancy Rodriguez , a registered dietitian, talked about the benefits of animal protein in the diet. She was recommended to King’s producers by NCBA. The counterpoint will come from T. Colin Campbell, an author and supporter of a plant-based diet. In addition, American Meat Institute President and Chief Executive Officer J. Patrick Boyle, Texas A&M University Department of Nutrition, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Food Science Professor Elsa Murano and Seattle-based foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler all offered commentary on the show.

If you missed the show, I encourage you to watch this segment, where a vegetarian lifestyle was encouraged and ground beef was portrayed as dangerous. Although the beef industry was able to get some positive statements in throughout the segment, unfortunately, I doubt consumers cared after watching mothers cry over their children lost. As always, we can have all the science in the world, but without emotion, the consumer stops listening. Today, I challenge you to send in your personal story to Larry King Live. Tell the viewers and producers at Larry King Live how confident you are in feeding hamburger to your family and explain the ways you safely handle and prepare raw meat products. You can send your comments here.

BEEF Daily Quick Fact: Did you know that 160°F is the optimal temperature for a safe and savory burger? (Source: Beef It's What's For Dinner)