Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Consumer Federation of America says there were 3.3 cases of listeria for every million people in 2003. That compares with 2.7 cases per million in 2002. Data for 2004 are not available.
Carol Tucker Foreman, the author of the report, said the Bush administration's food safety rules are based on "industry convenience and political influence," not on sound science.
Government and industry officials said the report ignored other data showing that meat and poultry products are safer. In 2003, tests turned up 25 percent fewer cases of listeria contamination, and recalls dropped from 40 to 14 from the year before.