FSIS outlines beef bench trim rules

Source of Article:  http://www.meatingplace.com


By Rita Jane Gabbett on 8/3/2009


USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued two notices providing further details of Friday's announcement that beef bench trim at non-slaughter facilities will now be routinely tested for E. coli O157:H7.

For the purposes of the rule, FSIS is defining bench trim as: "beef manufacturing trimmings derived form cattle not slaughtered on site at the establishment. Such trim may include secondary trimming of primals and subprimals resulting in small or large pieces and any other cuts designated for non-intact use."

Therefore, the sampling frame will include establishments that receive whole or half carcasses, primals, and boneless boxed beef that they use to produce bench trim.

FSIS will verify by Aug 31 whether an establishment is subject to the new sampling, including volume information.

Sampling, steaks and roasts

If the establishment produces bench trim resulting in large pieces, the products will be sampled using N60 sampling procedures. If the trim is too small to use N60 procedures or produces trim from steaks, roast or other cuts designated for non-intact use, inspectors will collect enough pieces to equal 2 pounds of product for sampling.

FSIS said if bench trim tests positive for E. coli O157:H7 from steaks and roasts that are non-intact, or are to be made non-intact (e.g. they have been or will be needle tenderized), that "would evidence that the steaks or roasts are also positive and thus adulterated."

The agency went on to say, "However, the establishment may have a supportable basis for distinguishing the steak or roast from the bench trim. For example, if the establishment applies an antimicrobial treatment to the steaks or roasts before tenderization, but not to the bench trim, the establishment may be able to support that the positive applies only to the bench trim."

FSIS noted that if an establishment's records and HACCP documents are unclear about the intended use of bench trim, inspectors are to consider the product as intended for use in raw ground beef products and sample the product.

To read the bench trim notice in its entirety, click here. For the revised directive to inspectors click here.

For more information on FSIS's notice, see USDA to test bench trim for E. coli, on Meatingplace, July 31, 2009.
For technical information on controlling E. coli, see


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