The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), an advocacy group promoting vegan diets, has conducted a survey for the presence of generic E. coli in chicken and is incorrectly interpreting the results.

Food Safety is of utmost importance to the retail food industry. Members of the Food Marketing Institute place the health and safety of customers as their first priority.

The methods used to collect and interpret the data in the PCRM survey fail to meet standards of proper scientific research design. In addition, there are many different strains of E. coli, these are common in the environment and many do not cause illness. The presence of generic E. coli is not a guaranteed indicator for fecal contamination, and to draw that conclusion is misleading. To base an entire report around that faulty conclusion is irresponsible.

USDA has a zero tolerance policy for fecal contamination on poultry carcasses during processing, and the industry safeguards against such contamination by maintaining many points of inspection by USDA inspectors and plant employees.

Food Retailers employ a number of food safety programs at retail, including training employees in sanitation and safe handling practices, and implementing best practices for preparing, serving and storing food. Retailers are subject to thorough oversight by federal, state and local inspectors.

Retailers augment their own food safety practices by reaching out to consumers with education about the importance of food safety and by providing guidance on proper food handling, preparation and cleaning practices. For information on Food Safety Practices, visit