WICHITA, KANSAS – VeriPrime Beef Food Safety Cooperative has hired Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, to promote its efforts to eradicateE. colifrom the U.S. food supply.

"Each year more than 73,000 people in the United States suffer the consequences of exposure toE. colithrough food," said Dr. Scott Crain, chief executive officer of VeriPrime. "That's 73,000 too many, especially when advances in science now enable us to significantly decrease the risks to our food supply."

VeriPrime defines itself as a food-safety cooperative focused on prevention. The cooperative is made up of cattlemen who own land, cattle and feeding facilities throughout the nation's heartland, representing 70% of the nation's cattle-feeding facilities. Cattle owners are the front line in the food-safety chain — taking the first steps in guarding food safety.

"We are excited to work with VeriPrime on this important program for food safety," said Karen Hughes, Global vice chair of Burson-Marsteller. "Burson's deep experience in developing evidence-based communications programs will help educate Americans about the benefits of putting these food safety initiatives into action."

VeriPrime said it is poised to build on the growing national momentum to enhance food safety measures. In May, the U.S.D.A. Food Safety Inspection Service published guidance for beef-slaughter establishments that is in line with the standards that VeriPrime has been advocating since it was founded in 2003. By working collaboratively with cattle producers, processors and retailers, VeriPrime's mission is to makeE. coli a thing of the past.

VeriPrime is a member-owned federation of cooperatives that includes all food chain participants. VeriPrime Beef Food Safety Cooperative members are cattlemen that own land, cattle and feeding facilities throughout the nation's heartland.