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FSIS is re-testing carcasses for pathogens

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is running a series of tests on cattle, pig, chicken and turkey carcasses with the objective of resetting pathogen testing baselines.

Among the specific baselines that need to be addressed are those for beef trim, other beef components, bench trim, ground beef and chicken parts, say USDA officials.

These baselines are used to determine the industry's process control capability, FSIS Deputy Assistant Administrator Daniel Engeljohn, told participants at a an E. coli O157:H7 prevention seminar presented by the North American Meat Processors Association.

When USDA first issued Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points' regulations in the mid-1990s, it created baselines for nine classes of pork, poultry and beef carcasses and used that data to establish pathogen performance standards.

To create the beef baselines this time, USDA will take one sample immediately post-hide removal but prior to decontamination interventions and evisceration, reports Meatingplace.com. A second sample will be taken post-chill after all decontamination interventions have been done, but prior to fabrication. The tests will baseline pathogen reductions achieved by current industry practices. For cattle, earlier tests were performed only post-chill, so adding the pre-decontamination test will provide new data to update performance standards. For trim, other beef components, bench trim, ground beef and chicken parts, the tests will create new standards.

Source: Pork Magazine

Natalie Berkhout

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