AMI: Current E. coli O157:H7 Tracing Procedures Not BrokenFriday, March 12, 2010
(American Meat Institute)
In 2009, there were 40.9 follow-up samples taken for each federal ground beef verification sample, evidence that existing E. coli O157:H7 tracing measures are effective, according to AMI Vice President for Food Safety and Inspection Services Scott Goltry, who delivered remarks this week during a public meeting to discuss the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) product tracing efforts.
Goltry noted that last year, FSIS significantly increased the sampling frequency in high volume federal ground beef facilities. Yet this focus on volume-based risk, as well as improvements in testing method detection resulted in a 66% reduction of prevalence from 0.45% in 2008 to 0.3% in 2009.
“As previously stated in comments to the agency, AMI agrees that each establishment should develop or continue to use process control procedures that are based on findings, corrections, and possible tightened parameters of production or disposition and react appropriately when there are higher than normal positive tests,” Goltry said. “AMI remains committed that the predetermined number of positive test results to describe a high event period for an establishment, as previously mentioned by FSIS, has no basis.”
Also, AMI encouraged FSIS to adopt or support the control of product pending lab analysis.
“FSIS has taken under consideration a petition by AMI that the agency implement a system whereby product tested by the agency must be controlled by the company until the result is known. It is our belief that this action is an important part of managing food safety risks as is tracing and should be given equivalent consideration,” Goltry stated.
Goltry also asked FSIS to act positively to comments submitted by AMI regarding boneless beef sampling and labeling, which would provide a means to improve tracing especially for boxed beef trimmings that have multiple distribution methods.
Finally, Goltry encouraged FSIS to sample ground beef products that are routinely produced by the processing facility.
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