I'm assuming you mean PF (Pilot Flying) time when you say 'actual PIC time'. (Since all time you can log as PIC time is 'actual PIC time'.
If my memmory serves me right I've got about 30 hours as safety pilot.
And honestly, I'm not that worried that an airline will have a problem with 30 of my hours, when I show up at an interview with 1000 hours of multi engine time.
I don't work for or fly with ATP but I spoke on the phone to them about a month ago and asked a pageful of questions. After some fairly persistent questioning the person I talked to said that aproximately 50 hours would wind up being safety pilot time. That's not really too bad, compared with the total multi time you would end up with. I suspect the number varies a bit with the individual situation.
Not sure how that person you talked to calculated his safety pilot time, but to clarify a little;
The average flight during your cross country phase is 2.5 hours, or thereabouts. (The total cross country time working out to about 75 hours.)
Now, the pilot flying (PF) will log the full 2.5 hours. The pilot not flying (PNF), or safety pilot, would log about 2.0 of those hours, as the PF obviously do not stay under the hood while starting, taxiing and doing run-up and so on.
This works out to be about 33 trips. (Again, working averages.) 16.5 of those would be as PNF, working out to 33 hours or so. 16.5 would be as PF, working out to 42 hours.
To a total of 75 hours.
Not that it makes a big difference between 30 and 50 hours of safety pilot time, but.. I'm a stickler for detail.
This can have other implications too. When interviewing for an airline or freight job, I understand many operators only want to hear about bona fide left-seat time as PIC, the rest being total time but most definitely not PIC. Revolves around the FAA definition of PIC vs. air operators definition.