"It is critical that the federal government continue funding food safety research at a high level, focusing on the validation of safety systems and process controls to reduce any potential hazards," the statement reads. "While the U.S. beef supply is extraordinarily safe by any nation's standards, we take seriously any potential food safety concern."
Additionally, unlike with bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella, cooking meat thoroughly not only does not kill the harmful substances, it can actually break them down into compounds that are even more harmful.
Still, Vilsack says Americans should be assured that steps are being taken to address these problems. He says that overall, the nation's beef supply is safe.
"We're asking the suppliers of beef to do a better job of keeping a better eye on repeat violations of suppliers so they are in a position to go back to farms that are providing beef that is not right -- to correct the situation," he says.