WASHINGTON – An Aug. 29 statement from US Dept. of Agriculture Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety, Carmen Rottenberg discredits Consumer Reports (CR) for recently publishing a story claiming that meat and poultry sold at retail outlets contain drug residues that are harmful to humans.
The story claims that drugs prohibited in meat and poultry products, including a “hallucinogenic party drug,” a risky anti-inflammatory, an anemia-linked antibiotic and other banned and restricted drugs, may show up in US meat and poultry products more often than previously known. The CR story said its findings, based on information from the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), “raise serious concerns about the safeguards put in place to protect the US meat supply.” The report goes on to state that the findings, which Rottenberg claims were based on information mistakenly released on March 3, 2018, and that included unconfirmed, preliminary test results from poultry samples, call into question the validity of the federal government’s testing, investigating and enforcement of food safety violations.
Once the agency realized the error, “We corrected our mistake with the requestor. However, the unconfirmed sampling results continue to be passed around as accurate, truthful information — they are not,” according to Rottenberg.
She said the CR report claiming the presence of harmful residues in meat and poultry products is not true and that the goal of the CR story was to discourage the consumption of meat and poultry.
“This story is sensational and fear-based infotainment aimed at confusing shoppers with pseudoscience and scare tactics,” Rottenberg writes. “Consumer Reports admits in their closing paragraph that the real agenda behind this piece is to convince Americans to eat less meat. Shame on Consumer Reports for attempting to advance a rhetoric that lacks scientific support or data, at the expense of American producers and the 9,000 food safety professionals who ensure the safety of meat and poultry in this country every day.”