Guidance on E. coli testing claims on labels issued


(, October 17, 2008)
by Bryan Salvage


Source of Article:


WASHINGTON Guidance on the use of labels bearing a Food Safety and Inspection Service-approved N-60 E. coli O157:H7 testing claim has been issued, according to the American Meat Institute. Such special label claims are voluntary. An establishment may use such claims when it demonstrates such E. coli O157:H7 testing claims are truthful and not misleading.

F.S.I.S. must approve such claims before the establishment can use them on labeling.

Using labels that contain special claims (e.g. instructional and disclaimer statements for E. coli O157:H7) are allowed by F.S.I.S. under certain conditions. In order to provide receiving establishments ─ particularly small and very small plants ─ with information about the H.A.C.C.P. system and testing done at the supplier establishment, the Labeling and Program Delivery Division has developed a N-60 testing claim guidance.

This labeling claim intends to provide receiving establishments with this information in lieu of Certificates of Analysis that may not properly transfer with product through distributors. This claim asserts that the raw beef component has been produced under an integrated control program between the slaughter/dressing operation and the trim production operation and tested for the presence of E. coli O157:H7 using a particular sample method (e.g., N-60 sampling). Labels bearing this claim would not be approved for products sold at retail or directly to consumers.

These draft compliance guides are being provided by F.S.I.S. for review and comment. Comments may be submitted to The deadline for receiving these comments is Nov. 17.



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