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AMS Issues Draft Specifications for Ground Turkey, Turkey Burgers and Turkey Sausage

Monday, April 2, 2001

AMS issued draft specifications for ground turkey, turkey burgers and turkey sausage last week that includes everything from how to become an eligible contractor to the reprocessing of turkey burgers. The specifications do not cover microbiological requirements.
To address the microbiological concerns, AMS put out a separate draft document titled, "Contractor Assessment and Microbiological Requirements Program for Ground Turkey Products," and has asked for comments.
The proposed microbiological requirements for raw meat and skin include testing for indicator bacteria using Standard Plate Count (SPC), total coliforms and generic E. coli. Testing limits include: SPC with an upper limit of 100,000/gram and a critical limit of 500,000/gram; total coliforms with an upper limit of 500/gram and a critical limit of 1,000/gram; and generic E. coli with an upper limit of 100/gram and a critical limit of 500/gram. Tests will be conducted by selecting a minimum of 20 pounds of product from each lot, reducing the product in size by at least once, then taking a composite one-pound sub-sample of the product. The sample shall be submitted for analysis to a third party independent accredited laboratory. Facilities that slaughter, process and grind meat and skin into finished products within the same facility may conduct finished product testing rather than test raw materials. The supplier must maintain records for all test results and make them available to the USDA grader.
Finally, grinders must have an approved quality control program in place prior to bidding.
Comments are due to AMS by April 13, 2001. A notice to the trade, draft specifications and draft microbiological requirements are available on the AMS web site at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/poultry/standardization/index1.htm

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