jueves, 10 de abril de 2008

Food Safety FSIS outlines why it might broaden definition of E. coli as adulterant

Whole muscle cuts will be also included in sampling plans
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service plans to look closely at how primal cuts are handled and tested before deciding whether it should define E. coli O157:H7 as an adulterant in beef regardless of the type of product or intended use of the product."We have not made decisions about how to go forward, but what we have in place now is not working," FSIS Deputy Assistant Administrator Daniel Engeljohn said Wednesday at a public meeting about E. coli in Washington.Currently, intact product distributed for consumption as intact product — designated primal and sub-primal cuts such as roasts and steaks — is not considered adulterated if it is contaminated with E. coli.However, Englejohn outlined considerations that might warrant changing that policy, such as evidence that a substantial amount of primal cuts are used as source material for non-intact ground beef, and evidence that non-designated primal cuts are not receiving the same E. coli interventions and testing as boneless manufacturing trimmings.In the short term, Englejohn said the agency will intensify its focus on slaughter/dressing compliance, reviewing industry data on the effectiveness of sanitary practices.

FSIS also will look more closely at sampling protocols, including what constitutes a production lot, how samples are collected and how decisions are made about when other production lots may be affected by positive E. coli test results.Urgency: Although Englejohn characterized assessment of E. coli's status as an adulterant in a broader range of products as "long term,"
FSIS Under Secretary Richard Raymond spoke with greater urgency at the meeting. "I don't want to leave this problem for the next under secretary, and I don't want to have a prolonged, fruitless deliberation on this subject," Raymond said. "We have a problem. Let's work quickly and thoughtfully to find the right prescription to solve it."Raymond indicated there will be a 30-day comment period following the two-day meeting, which discussed a variety of ways to improve E. coli detection and reduce related human illness. He said FSIS will then review responses and plan its next steps based on that input.
The American Meat Institute, for one, already has spoken out against FSIS's proposed change. "No outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 have been linked to whole muscle cuts like steaks and roasts," said AMI Foundation President James Hodges. "Contemplating an expansion of that policy to muscle cuts that are internally sterile will not solve the problem.
No policy change by government can alter the current scientific reality that bacteria exist on all fresh agricultural products. The data tell us, however, that Americans enjoy beef products safely better than 99.99 percent of the time."
Source: Meatingplace.com
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

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