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    New Consumer Guide to Safe Handling Meat, Poultry Available

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Just in time for grilling season, retailers can obtain a new consumer-focused brochure that offers needed tips for safely handling and cooking ground meat and poultry.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Just in time for grilling season, retailers can obtain a new consumer-focused brochure that offers needed tips for safely handling and cooking ground meat and poultry.

    The brochure, released jointly by the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) here, as well as the National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation, aims to close a key knowledge gap among consumers: the proper internal temperature to ensure safety.

    In a poll conducted last week, only 13 percent of consumers could identify the proper internal temperature for a hamburger, which is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Only six percent said they could identify the proper internal temperature for a poultry burger, which is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

    In addition, just six percent of consumers said they always use instant-read thermometers -- a food safety strategy recommended by the federal government and leading food safety experts. A remarkable 78 percent of consumers said they never use instant-read thermometers when cooking burgers.

    For the poll, Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted telephone interviews with 900 consumers, from May 17 to 19.

    "The good news is, bacteria is lower than it ever had has been on meat and poultry products, thanks to new in-plant technologies that target and destroy bacteria," said AMI foundation president James H. Hodges. "However, consumers are urged to assume that all meat and poultry contain bacteria, and handle them according to safe handling instructions."

    The new brochure can be downloaded for reproduction by going to www.meatsafety.org. Retail logos may be added to the back of the brochure, which can easily be printed on a standard color printer. Alternately, a graphic version of the brochure is available upon request.

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