Letter to the Editor

Start New Year with new diet

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To the Editor:

Worried about beef?

The National Steak and Poultry recall is making many consumers think twice about biting into burgers.

The company recently recalled nearly 250,000 pounds of beef because of an E. coli contamination.

As a dietitian, I think it's time to face the facts. Burgers can bite back in a big way. And E. coli is not the only problem.

The National Cancer Institute recently published a study of more than half a million people finding that those who ate 4 ounces of red meat a day -- the size of a small hamburger -- were more likely to die from heart disease, cancer and all causes over the next 10 years.

The latest beef recall prompted the usual USDA recommendations to wash hands and cook meat at higher temperatures. But the best solution is to simply leave meat off our plates. A shift toward a vegetarian diet would help fight chronic diseases, and the meat industry would shrink, making the whole food supply safer.

Let's make a toast to good health and start the New Year with a vegetarian diet.


Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.,

Director of Nutrition Education,

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,

Washington, D.C.