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Meat Institute Submits Comments Regarding STEC Compliance Guideline for Beef Processing Operations

Monday, November 13, 2017

(North American Meat Institute)

The Meat Institute submitted comments in response to the Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS) compliance guideline that is designed to assist small and very small beef and veal processing establishments in controlling Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC) in raw non-intact beef products and beef products intended for non-intact use. The Meat Institute's comments encourage FSIS to clarify that this compliance guideline serves as a resource that details suggested best practices, and does not impose regulatory requirements. The comments also state the guideline exceeds its intended scope and should be revised to address STEC in raw beef processing operations. Specifically, the Meat Institute requests FSIS remove the section addressing lymph nodes because they have never been shown to be a source of STEC contamination.

The guide inappropriately over-emphasizes product testing for ongoing verification and at times presents contradictory and unclear scientific support for its recommendations, according to the comments. Finally, the Meat Institute contends the classification and comparison of some beef products as non-intact alongside higher risk products is flawed.

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