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New Guidance Documents Address Allergen Control and Microbiological Testing

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

Two guidance documents, prepared by Colorado State University's Center for Meat Safety and Quality in conjunction with NAMI and funded by the Beef Checkoff, covering allergen control in meat establishments and advice for selecting a commercial or private laboratory to conduct microbiological testing are now available.

The allergen control guidance details methods to identify allergen hazards in meat establishments, including by maintaining a continually reviewed and updated list of all ingredients and suppliers. The guidance also outlines specific control methods, such as good manufacturing practices, production scheduling options and employee training programs. Meanwhile, facility design and storage practices are presented that cover proper allergen storage, product formulation, packaging and labeling procedures, and equipment and sanitation programs. The document also underscores corrective action for suspect product, verification options for sanitation components of allergen programs and instructions for adhering to allergen programs.

The second guidance document presents factors establishments should consider when selecting a microbiological testing laboratory. The document also provides criteria that applies to both in-house and third-party laboratories. The guidance specifically addresses laboratory testing methodology, lab quality assurance, microbiological sample shipping methods, sample receipt and handling procedures and results reporting.

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