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Another Step Forward in Food Safety – What You Need to Know About Grinding Logs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing a requirement for official establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef products to keep detailed and in-depth log record systems.

The proposed grinding log rule is now available for public review at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/proposed-rules.

What are the benefits?

Consumers will benefit from the rule in several ways.  The most important among them is an improved ability to trace ground beef products back to the originating plant should an outbreak occur. Additionally, consumers will benefit from reduced incidences of E. coli and Salmonella illnesses because of greater efficiency in identifying and removing raw ground beef products from commerce that are potentially contaminated with those pathogens.

Traceback investigations can be hampered when retail outlets produce ground beef by mixing product from various sources, but fail to keep clear records as to what those sources are. Having better information on the sources of product would improve the chances that investigators will be able to determine which supplier produced the product that is responsible for the illnesses.

Keeping complete records for all beef grinding activity will enable FSIS and associated businesses to act more efficiently and in a timely manner, safeguarding public health.

Implementation of the rule would make available vital information should a public health concern arise from a ground beef product, including:

  • the names and establishment numbers of sites supplying the materials used to prepare each lot of raw ground beef product;
  • all supplier lot numbers and production dates;
  • the amount of the beef component used in each lot (in pounds);
  • the date and time each lot of raw ground beef product is produced; and
  • the date and time when grinding equipment and related food-contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.

FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this proposed rule by going to http://www.regulations.gov.

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