FSIS announces rule to trace illness linked to ground beef
The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service on Monday announced a new measure to determine the source of foodborne illnesses linked to ground beef.
“Based on lessons learned from previous outbreak investigations, FSIS is requiring that all makers of raw ground beef products keep adequate records of the source material, so that the agency can quickly work with the suppliers to recall contaminated product,” the FSIS said in a notice.
FSIS said that under the new final rule, it is amending its recordkeeping regulations to require all official establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef products to maintain the following records:
▪ The number of establishments supplying material used to prepare each lot of raw ground beef product
▪ All supplier lot numbers and production dates
▪ The names of the supplied materials, including beef components and any materials carried over from one production lot to the next
▪ The date and time each lot of raw ground beef product is produced
▪ The date and time when grinding equipment and other related food-contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.
“These requirements also apply to raw beef products that are ground at an individual customer’s request when new source materials are used,” FSIS said.
“The traceback mechanism provided for in this final rule will facilitate recall efforts that could stop outbreaks and prevent additional foodborne illnesses,” said Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety Brian Ronholm.
“USDA is committed to providing resources and assistance to makers of ground beef to ensure they can be a part of this important and essential new public health measure.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, praised the measure.
“With these measures, the USDA is strengthening federal food safety efforts by developing strategies that emphasize a three-dimensional approach to preventing foodborne illness: prioritizing prevention; strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and improving response and recovery,” DeLauro said.
“During outbreaks of foodborne illness, it is critical that the USDA can locate the source of the outbreak rapidly and trace any additional outbreaks linked to the source.”
–The Hagstrom Report