According to Dr. Ken Clayton, Acting Administrator of AMS, the agency will be announcing new specifications for commodity ground beef later this week. Among the changes, AMS plans to: 1) remove the zero-tolerance for Salmonella policy and base testing programs on appropriate indicator organisms; 2) require an additional anti-microbial intervention step at slaughter (for a total of two approved interventions); 3) require a carcass testing program for E. coli O157:H7; and 4) accept bids for irradiated meat to be offered through the program.
Boning operations will be
required to have effective quality control
programs in place that allow them to meet
microbial limits for indicator organisms.
Processors that exceed the statistical process
control limits or exceed the critical limits
more than five percent of the time will become
"conditional." Product from “conditional”
suppliers that fails the critical limit will be
rejected. Conditional suppliers that are unable
to meet the specification limits within 30
production days will be deemed ineligible
suppliers. AMS will verify process control
through audits, including random testing.
AMS will develop a grinder's quality
history by testing the first 20 production lots
of ground meat. If the results are within the
limits of the specification, the grinder will
be deemed eligible and AMS will test no less
than 20 percent of finished ground meat for
indicator organisms to verify effectiveness.
If the first 20 production lots exceed limits,
or exceed the critical limits of the
specification more than five percent of the
time, they will become a “conditional”
grinder. Actions for “conditional”
grinders mirror those for “conditional”
Daily testing for E.
coli O157:H7 will continue and positive
results will result in lot rejection.
Product to be cooked or irradiated under FSIS
inspection is exempt from E. coli
This information was
verified by AMS personnel. However, the
complete specifications will not be available
until the end of the week on the AMS
AMS Plans to Remove Zero-Tolerance for Salmonella and Allow for Irradiation in Ground Beef SpecificationsTuesday, March 27, 2001