|NEWS RELEASE||November 20, 2001|
Doctors Issue Food Safety Alert
For Healthful Holiday Meals, Avoid Contaminated Turkey and Ham Products
WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) warns consumers that poultry and ham are often contaminated with disease-causing organisms—as well as being high in artery-clogging fat and cholesterol. Vegetarian holiday fare includes traditional favorites such as sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pecans, together with turkey alternatives that are low in fat and do not place party-goers at risk for food poisoning.
"At harvest time, we have a bountiful array of delicious and healthful foods to choose from, and there is no need for high-fat, artery-clogging fare such as turkey and ham," states Jen Keller, R.D., staff dietitian for PCRM. "Holiday celebrations are even more enjoyable with healthful foods that are tasty and abundant."
Numerous studies have shown that the high fat and cholesterol content of turkey and ham is linked to heart disease and certain cancers. With 8 grams of fat and 70 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3-ounce serving—nearly as much as a 3-ounce serving of ground beef and more than twice the cholesterol as a McDonald's hamburger—turkey cannot be considered a heart-healthy food.
A recent Food and Drug Administration investigation found that 20 percent of the 200 samples of ground turkey, chicken, beef, and pork from Washington, D.C.-area supermarkets contained salmonella, which causes food poisoning. On 29 August 2001, PCRM filed a petition with the Food Safety and Inspection Service asking it to implement stronger regulations to protect consumers from foodborne pathogens.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.