Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced
Friday that USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is issuing guidance
for inspectors to begin conducting routine sampling of bench trim for
E. coli O157:H7.
FSIS will also be issuing streamlined, consolidated instructions to its
personnel for inspection, sampling and other actions to reduce E. coli
O157:H7 in beef, Vilsack said in a news release.
"FSIS has not routinely tested bench trim, and today's
announcement builds on previous measures FSIS has taken to ensure meat
is safe," the news release said.
"The expansion is from testing beef manufacturing trimmings, which
are produced at slaughter establishments, to also sampling bench trim,
which is produced at further processing establishments," Ann
Wells, director of scientific and regulatory affairs for the North
American Meat Processors Association, told Meatingplace.
She explained that the trimmings that have been subject to sampling in
the past have been the first trimmings to come off a carcass in the
production of boxed beef. "Bench trim" refers to secondary
trimmings that are produced in the conversion of boxed beef to steaks,
roasts and other products.
NAMP Executive Director Phil Kimball told Meatingplace that FSIS
Deputy Assistant Administrator Dan Engeljohn will discuss the impact of
this announcement on further processors in detail at an E. coli
conference, Aug. 18 - 19, in Chicago. (See Conference
to focus on E. coli strategies for beef further processors on Meatingplace,
June 4, 2009.)