Remember playing that kid’s game, in which you look at a cartoon showing a fish reading a newspaper, a dog sleeping in a tree and a kid riding a bike in scuba gear and then try to figure out, “How many things can you find wrong with this picture?”
That’s the same question I’d ask about a recent headline appearing on the news blog Boston.com, a website run by the Boston Globe newspaper. The headline read: “Which meats are most likely to give you food poisoning?”
Not which food, which meat? And not which ones are riskiest if not handled properly, but which ones are going to give you food poisoning?
Like it’s inevitable.
I guess the people who earn a living raising livestock and producing meat products should be grateful it didn’t say, “most likely to kill you.”
Without even reading the actual article, you can safely assume from the slanted headline that the source of this “news” is an anti-industry activist group.
And you’d be right: The data—and an accompanying “Meat & Poultry Risk Pyramid” graphic—come courtesy of the do-gooders at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an organization whose partisans never met a meat product they didn’t hate.
The source of their scare story, which was swallowed intact by the blogger at Boston.com, is a publication called Risky Meat: A CSPI Field Guide to Meat & Poultry Safety.
“Meat and poultry foods are a significant part of the average American diet,” the introduction stated. “But they can also be linked to foodborne illnesses, ranging from inconvenient to deadly. Consumers should know which of their favorite foods carry the greatest risk.”
In other words, which ones will kill you?
The conclusion? Brace yourself, because this is a real revelation: Based on an analysis of 33,000 cases of foodborne illnesses, the geniuses at CSPI have concluded that the most dangerous foods are ground beef and chicken.
Which anyone willing to spend five minutes casually surfing USDA’s website could have figured out all on their own.
Perhaps more interesting is CSPI’s declaration that the products with the lowest risk are sausage and chicken nuggets. So, maybe it’s not chicken itself, but the fact that raw meat or poultry of any kind might be more likely to cause food poisoning?
Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer to that query.
In fact, a CSPI spokesperson actually acknowledged the irony in their data.