WASHINGTON — Over the past decade, the U.S. meat industry has made great strides in reducing E. coli-related illnesses, American Meat Institute President and Chief Executive Officer J. Patrick Boyle said this morning during the broadcast of "Good Morning America." Focusing on E. coli in ground beef, the segment was the first in a three-part series titled "What’s in Your Food," A.M.I. relayed.

"You have to recall we are dealing with a fresh product," Mr. Boyle said. "But as we have tried to comply with zero-tolerance standards, we've made enormous progress over the last 10 years."

As part of the G.M.A. report, six packages of ground-beef patties purchased at supermarket chains in Seattle were taken to IEH Laboratories, an independent testing lab. Tests revealed meat from at least four cows was found in each hamburger patty tested. Mr. Boyle explained why hamburger often contains meat from multiple sources.

"Our ground-beef supply is a combination of different types of meat in proportion to certain levels of fat," he said. "So, one has to have multiple sources of the raw material to make the finished product that Americans enjoy so much."

Elizabeth Hagan, chief medical officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also appeared on the segment. She said the key to preventing E. coli-related illness is properly cooking ground beef.


here to view the entire segment.