WASHINGTON, DC — August 5, 2002 — At the peak of barbeque season, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has launched a labeling program urging consumers to cook hamburgers to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, according to an announcement here today by FMI President and CEO Tim Hammonds.

FMI is offering members labels for ground beef packages with the message “Cook to 160 Degrees to Kill Bacteria.” Members can download high-resolution artwork to create their own labels from the FMI Web site (www.fmi.org/foodsafety/). FMI is also inviting retailers to feature this message in ads, consumer brochures and recipes and on their Web sites.

“Across the nation this month, families are grilling millions of hamburgers,” Hammonds said. “We want to make sure families enjoy their meals in good health. The single, most important measure they can take is to cook hamburgers to 160 degrees — and, just as important, confirm it with a thermometer. They can use a disposable T-stick for hamburgers or a digital thermometer.”

“Everyone in the food chain — from the farm to fork — shares the responsibility to prevent foodborne illnesses,” said FMI President and CEO Tim Hammonds. “This is because food needs careful handling from the processing plant to the kitchen.

“Consumers are the last line of defense to ensure that meals are safe and wholesome. When serving hamburgers, they have a most effective method in simply cooking it to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.”

For more information on FMI food safety programs, visit the association Web site www.fmi.org/foodsafety/.