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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
3 September 2000 Issue

Group Criticizes Campaign Featuring 'Thermy,' a Cartoon Thermometer, for Trivializing Risks of Meat Consumption
Submitted by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Email: pcrm@pcrm.org

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) filed a complaint today with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over its new campaign promoting the use of thermometers in meat preparation. The campaign features ``Thermy,'' a cartoon thermometer, who claims: ``It's safe to bite when the temperature is right.'' On the eve of Labor Day, one of the country's most popular barbecue days, PCRM hopes to alert the American public that meat is unsafe at any temperature.

``While a thermometer can indicate whether food is hot enough to kill bacteria, it can't do a thing about measuring fat, cholesterol, carcinogens, or all the other deadly hazards in meat,'' says PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. ``To suggest that meat is completely ''safe`` if cooked at a high temperature is a deadly mistake. The USDA should not be ignoring the enormous body of research linking meat consumption to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other serious health problems.''

PCRM's complaint argues that while heat may kill microorganisms, it's useless against fat and cholesterol, two main culprits implicated in the development of many chronic diseases. Moreover, meats prepared under high cooking temperatures often contain heterocyclic amines, potent carcinogens that form from amino acids, creatine, and natural sugars.

``The bottom line is that meat is a risky food, whether or not it's been cooked thoroughly,'' says Dr. Barnard. ``The USDA would do better to promote a healthy, vegetarian diet.''

For a copy of PCRM's complaint or interviews with PCRM doctors and dietitians, contact
Ms. Simon Chaitowitz, Communications Director
at 202-686-2210, ext. 309
or via e-mail at simonc@pcrm.org.

Founded in 1985, PCRM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting preventive medicine, especially better nutrition, and higher standards in research.
pcrm@pcrm.org

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