Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The march of science
You may be surprised to discover that our state of the art food safety methodology -- recently adopted by Europe -- is arbitrarily and poorly implemented.
Regulatory authorities have sought improvement of the microbiological safety of meat in general and ground beef in particular by requiring the implementation of hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) systems at all meat packing plants. The procedures currently recommended and employed for developing HACCP systems in the meat industry are based on subjective assessments of the microbiological effects of operations in production processes, and of the actions taken to control microbiological contamination. However, subjective assessment of microbiological effects may be erroneous, with subsequent misidentification of critical control points (CCPs). Obviously, any HACCP system based on notional rather than real CCPs is likely to be ineffective. It has therefore been suggested that HACCP systems at meat plants should be based on microbiological data that allow estimation of the numbers of indicator organisms on product at various stages of processing. Such an approach to CCP identification has been applied to some parts of the production activities at a number of beef packing plants, but not to the whole sequence of processes, from slaughter to grinding, for the production of ground beef at any packing plant.
Duh. It's 2003 and they just fucking figured this out? It's a miracle any of us are still alive.

C. O. Gill, et al., "Identification of critical control points for control of microbiological contamination in processes leading to the production of ground beef at a packing plant," Food Microbiology 20, Issue 6 (2003), pp. 641-50


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