The international Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE) will perform a systematic investigation of ionization cooling with muon beams of momentum between 140 and 240 MeV/c at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory ISIS facility. The measurement of ionization cooling in MICE relies on the selection of a pure sample of muons that traverse the experiment. To make this selection, the MICE Muon Beam is designed to deliver a beam of muons with less than ∼1% contamination. To make the final muon selection, MICE employs a particle-identification (PID) system upstream and downstream of the cooling cell. The PID system includes time-of-flight hodoscopes, threshold-Cherenkov counters and calorimetry. The upper limit for the pion contamination measured in this paper is fπ < 1.4% at 90% C.L., including systematic uncertainties. Therefore, the MICE Muon Beam is able to meet the stringent pion-contamination requirements of the study of ionization cooling.