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NEWS RELEASE June 11, 2007

Doctors Respond to Massive Meat Recall by Offering Free “Veggie Starter Kits” to Carnivores Worried About E. Coli

Meatless Diets Can Help Consumers Avoid E. Coli Infection and Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Physicians Group Says

WASHINGTON— In response to news that 5.7 million pounds of beef sold to consumers in recent months may be contaminated with potentially deadly E. coli bacteria, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is offering a free 16-page Vegetarian Starter Kit to worried carnivores.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Saturday that United Food Group has greatly expanded an existing recall of contaminated meat, which has already been blamed for an E. coli outbreak in Western states that has resulted in at least 14 illnesses in recent months.

In the United States, more E. coli infections have been caused by eating ground beef than any other food. Meat can become contaminated during animal slaughter, when E. coli bacteria can spread to various cuts of meat, equipment, and workers' hands. Animal agriculture can also contaminate vegetable crops, as occurred last year when spinach tainted with E. coli by manure from a nearby cattle ranch killed three people.

Escherichia coli 0157:H7 is responsible for approximately 60 deaths and more than 70,000 infections per year in the United States. Avoiding meat can reduce the risk of E. coli infection. Vegetarian eating habits also eliminate animal fat and cholesterol, which have been linked to heart disease, one of America’s top killers.

“It is time to kick the meat habit,” says PCRM president and nutrition researcher Neal Barnard, M.D. “In addition to the risk of E. coli, the fat, cholesterol and cancer-causing agents in meat, chicken, pork, and other animal products are devastating to public health. Vegetarians enjoy lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and a number of other diseases.”

PCRM’s kit explains everything someone needs to adopt a vegetarian diet and includes plenty of great recipes. The kit is available online at A Spanish-language version can be found at

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.

Media Contact:
Patrick Sullivan

Neal Barnard, M.D.
Neal Barnard, M.D.

Related Links:
PCRM's Vegetarian Starter Kit

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