Beef testing, sampling guidelines released

by Bryan Salvage
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DALLAS – New guidance practices for sampling, lotting and testing beef products were released this week at the ninth annual Beef Industry Food Safety Summit, hosted by the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo). Titled “Guidance Document for Sampling and Lotting of Beef Products and Sample Analysis for Pathogens”, the document is designed to assist beef processing companies in implementing proven pathogen-testing programs as part of a multiple-hurdle, food-safety system.

“Our number-one goal is to eliminate pathogens from the beef supply by placing multiple hurdles along the beef production chain,” said James Reagan, Ph.D., chairman of BIFSCo and senior vice president of research, education and innovation for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.

“This new initiative is another way of driving home our commitment to providing the safest beef products possible to our domestic and global beef consumers,” added Chad Martin, senior director of food safety and quality assurance with Tyson Foods. “The Beef Industry Food Safety Council unites the industry around the common goal of improving beef safety.”

Product testing is one way to validate multiple hurdles that are working to reduce the incidence of potential pathogens in the food supply, Reagan said. “This new guidance document brings together the industry’s best knowledge coupled with years of experience in developing efficient and accurate sampling, lotting and pathogen analysis systems,” he added. “Effective and accurate sampling, lotting and testing schemes are essential in establishing sound food-safety programs for the beef industry.”

Proper procedures and methods that should be used to sample, lot and analyze different types of beef products, including whole-muscle cuts, trimmings for ground beef production and frozen ground beef, are explained in the guidelines. Expectations and issues that should be considered when developing pathogen-testing programs are also identified.

Developed through BIFSCo, the industry’s “best practices” are available online at www.bifsco.org, free of charge, to all involved in advancing beef safety.
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