October 23, 2018

FSIS To Require Test and Hold for Non-Intact Raw Beef Products and Ready-to-Eat Foods

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Friday that, in 60 days, they will require producers of non-intact raw beef and all ready-to-eat meat and poultry products to hold shipments until they pass agency testing for pathogens. This critical step will help prevent food poisoning outbreaks and recalls that result when a shipped product tests positive for contamination.

USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said, “this new policy will reduce foodborne illnesses and the number of recalls by preventing contaminated products from reaching consumers. Many producers hold products until test results come back. We’re encouraging others in the industry to make this a routine part of operations.”

The new policy means establishments and food importers must “maintain control” of their products that are tested for adulterants and not let them enter the commerce stream until negative test results are returned. Most of the tests will take about two days to complete.┬áThe non-intact beef products, or intact raw beef products intended for non-intact use, are tested for Shiga-toxin producing E. coli bacteria (STEC).

The government estimates that if this new requirement had been in place from 2007 to 2010, 49 of the 251 meat, poultry, and processed egg recalls that took place during that time could have been prevented. The “hold and test” policy was based on public comment and input received on the Federal Register Notice published in April 2011.

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