Susan Levin’s call for mass vegetarianism as a response to E. coli fears has two big problems (“Prevent E. coli by changing your diet,” Oct. 5).

She’s conveniently forgotten about this year’s 26-state E. coli outbreak in packages of fresh spinach. And last year’s E. coli poisoning of hundreds of Americans at the hands of unwashed lettuce and green onions. These were vegetarian foods the last time I checked.

And Levin’s own organization isn’t exactly a disinterested health authority. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is actually an animal rights group with financial ties to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. (Only 3 percent of the group’s members are doctors.)

If animal activists really want to turn Americans into meat-hating diet radicals, they’re going to have to be a bit more honest. A good start would be admitting that vegetarianism isn’t risk-free, and that they’re really more interested in saving cows and chickens than in protecting human health.