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FSIS Issues Notice on FSIS Verification Testing for Non-O157 STECs

Friday, April 27, 2012

(American Meat Institute)

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued Notice 29-12: FSIS Verification Testing for Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli Under MT60, MT52, AND MT53 Sampling Programs. This notice provides inspection program personnel (IPP) with information on non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) laboratory tests that will be performed on samples of beef manufacturing trimmings collected under certain existing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 verification sampling programs. This testing applies to samples of beef manufacturing trimmings from cattle slaughtered on-site on or after June 4, 2012.

FSIS will test beef manufacturing trimmings (but not ground beef, bench trim, or other components of ground beef such as cheek meat, head meat, or other components described in FSIS Directive 10,010.1) for the six non-O157 STEC serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145) in addition to E. coli O157:H7 under the following sampling programs:

FSIS does not expect establishments to reassess their HACCP plans because of non-O157 STEC testing implementation. No noncompliances (NRs) or Food Safety Assessments (FSAs) will result should an establishment not reassess its HACCP plan.

Approximately 90 days after June 4, 2012, FSIS will provide instructions to IPP as to how to verify that establishments have validated their HACCP plans and that they are controlling for the relevant non-O157 STECs in beef manufacturing trimmings.

Initially, FSIS will not schedule a for-cause FSA in an establishment in response to an FSIS non-O157 STEC positive sample result. Establishments are to document and identify in their initial validation activity plans the time frame in which they will have accumulated sufficient data to conclude that their food safety systems are adequate to control for the relevant non-O157 STECs. IPP will verify that establishments are adhering to the controls that they identified in their food safety systems.

Except for not initially scheduling the for-cause FSAs associated with the relevant non-O157 STEC positive test result, when FSIS finds beef manufacturing trimmings positive for any of the relevant non-O157 STEC, FSIS’ actions will be consistent with its actions in response to E. coli O157:H7 positive results, including performing follow-up sampling as described in Directive 10,010.3 Rev 3. A comparison between non-O157 STEC and E. coli O157:H7 testing is available in an attachment to this notice.

To view this notice, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISNotices/29-12.pdf.

A separate FSIS Notice addresses sampling and testing of beef manufacturing trimmings at port-of-entry sites. To view this notice, go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISNotices/30-12.pdf.

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