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E.coli limit in fresh meat


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#1 zarina

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 12:55 PM

Hello!

 

I have a problem concerning a specification for a meat product that we buy from a producer in Poland. The product is basically just frozen chuck that is diced into cubes, and is intended for cooking (gulash, stews or similar). I just learned that our producer uses the microbiological criteria intended for meat preparations for this product (m=500 cfu/g, M=5000 cfu/g), which I think is too high. At our last testing we got a result of 130 cfu/g which according to our lab was acceptable with a remark. 

 

I am trying to convince our producer that it is incorrect to use the critera for meat preparations (since this is not a meat preparation.. or am I totally wrong?) for this product. However, I am not quite sure which level I think is resonable to aim for. Therefore I would like to ask you meat/microbiology experts out there what you would say is a acceptable limit for e. coli i fresh meat intended for cooking?

 

Super greatful for your advice!

 

 



#2 Setanta

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 01:56 PM

Well, as with many things, there is no 1 answer. It depends if it is ready to eat, whewre it is being sold, what kind of E. Coli, etc

http://fsrio.nal.usd...-and-guidelines

http://www.researchg...home_made_foods

http://www.cfs.gov.h..._RTE_food_e.pdf

http://www.gftc.ca/k...95-11ba90d7c71e


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#3 zarina

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 02:41 PM

Yes, I discovered that this was a tricky question after a few hours on google... The problem is that there is no legal limit for this type of product. Since it´s supposed to be heated prior consumtion it´s more a quality than health concern. However, I am thinking that there must be a critical limit where generic e. coli in a highter number will influence the shelf life, eating quality etc. Also, since this product is sold a lot to schools, hospitals etc. I am more aware of the risk of contamination with pathogenic bacteria. 

 

If we turn the question: do you think that a limit of m=500 cfu/g, M=5000 cfu/g is resonable for this type of product? And out of curiosity, does somebody know why the limit for meat preparations (hamburgers, kebabs etc) in regulation 2073/2005 is set much higher than for minced meat?   



#4 trubertq

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 04:00 PM

The limits for raw products are very hard to come by and very hard to interpret in my experience, that is if they exist at all. I would use EU 2073/2005 as a reference but that's because it's the EU reg which we here in Ireland have to abide by.

 

Sorry I can't be of more help :unsure:


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:19 PM

Dear Zarina,

 

I’m unsure how relevant the attachment below is to this thread (not a meat person). Hopefully related. It details a large scale survey of the micro.quality of fresh, retail, red meat (beef,pork,lamb) varieties in UK in 2007 (kudos Mike Green / UK).

 

Attached File  Micro.levels of retail, fresh red meat,UK,2007.pdf   678.98KB   83 downloads

 

Not being in this area, I haven’t much knowledge regarding the pros/cons of the meat preparation vs meat designation. The latter apparently circumvents potential micro.inconveniences (ie no obligation to report since official criteria do not exist :smile: ). This topic is also discussed in the attachment in a similar way to yr comment and, afai could see from a quick look, also reaches no particular conclusion.

 

In addition to detailed pathogenic data, the generic E.coli results for  a range of  meat presentations are grouped into ranges and discussed on Pg 72 et seq. I think you may find the data quite surprising, I know I did.

 

I’m unsure where “chuck” fits into the document since it is nowhere specifically mentioned. Possibly included in some other named category ? Unfortunately  I totally lack familiarity with the language of meat cuts. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#6 Madam A. D-tor

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:34 PM

 .... And out of curiosity, does somebody know why the limit for meat preparations (hamburgers, kebabs etc) in regulation 2073/2005 is set much higher than for minced meat?   

 

As I have always understood: meat preparations still need to be fully cooked. Minced meat can be eaten raw. Or at least I am told that this is done in some countries, by some people.


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#7 Madam A. D-tor

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:55 PM

There are, as far as I know, no legal requirements, on microbiology for raw meat.

The products you are talking about, are intended for cooking and -as I understood- for finished products that are cooked for a long time (gulash, stew).

E. Coli is inactivated above 70 °C.


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#8 zarina

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 12:39 PM

Dear Zarina,

 

I’m unsure how relevant the attachment below is to this thread (not a meat person). Hopefully related. It details a large scale survey of the micro.quality of fresh, retail, red meat (beef,pork,lamb) varieties in UK in 2007 (kudos Mike Green / UK).

 

attachicon.gifMicro.levels of retail, fresh red meat,UK,2007.pdf

 

Not being in this area, I haven’t much knowledge regarding the pros/cons of the meat preparation vs meat designation. The latter apparently circumvents potential micro.inconveniences (ie no obligation to report since official criteria do not exist :smile: ). This topic is also discussed in the attachment in a similar way to yr comment and, afai could see from a quick look, also reaches no particular conclusion.

 

In addition to detailed pathogenic data, the generic E.coli results for  a range of  meat presentations are grouped into ranges and discussed on Pg 72 et seq. I think you may find the data quite surprising, I know I did.

 

I’m unsure where “chuck” fits into the document since it is nowhere specifically mentioned. Possibly included in some other named category ? Unfortunately  I totally lack familiarity with the language of meat cuts. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

Very useful link! :) It seems like i just have to decide what is normal in this type of product/what consequenses certain limits may have for the over all quality and shelf life. Everything point at that a limit of 100 cfu/g would make sense, but like mentioned all bacteria would be killed during heating so highter values might be accepted. I just want our product to be more than acceptable :D

 

In interesting point while searching for information is this matter is that in the polish version of EG 853/2004 and also 2073/2004 meat preparations has been translated into "Wyroby mięsne" which seems to mean "meat products". This is a bit problematic since the category meat products is basically everything while meat preparations is more limited to meat products with additives.  Sombody good at polish and can explain this?

 

I probably have too much time over to spend on this kind of investigations :)



#9 Charles.C

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 01:34 PM

Dear zarina,

 

Well, from memory, one of the (3-4)  fundamental Codex principles regarding the implementation of microbiological specifications is that they must be able to be practically attainable.

This is one of the objectives in making such a survey as above.

The data appears to suggest that your own numbers mentioned previously should be capable of significant improvement assuming the problem is  hygiene related. The interesting query is how/where/when ?. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#10 Madam A. D-tor

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 01:45 PM

That would be a major translation error.

 

The definitions are (according 853/2004)

Meat preparations:  fresh meat, including meat that has been reduced to fragments, which has had foodstuffs, seasonings or additives added to it or which has undergone processes insufficient to modify the internal muscle fibre structure of the meat and thus to eliminate the characteristics of fresh meat.

Meat products:  processed products resulting from the processing of meat or from the further processing of such processed products, so that the cut surface shows that the product no longer has the characteristics of fresh meat.

 

However if I translate the word "Wyroby mięsne" with google translate and I get both meat products as meat preparations as answer. 


Kind Regards,

Madam A. D-tor

#11 zarina

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 12:19 PM

That would be a major translation error.

 

The definitions are (according 853/2004)

Meat preparations:  fresh meat, including meat that has been reduced to fragments, which has had foodstuffs, seasonings or additives added to it or which has undergone processes insufficient to modify the internal muscle fibre structure of the meat and thus to eliminate the characteristics of fresh meat.

Meat products:  processed products resulting from the processing of meat or from the further processing of such processed products, so that the cut surface shows that the product no longer has the characteristics of fresh meat.

 

However if I translate the word "Wyroby mięsne" with google translate and I get both meat products as meat preparations as answer. 

 

I actually got an aswer to this from the Polish authorities  :)

 

"I would like to kindly inform you that the polish translation of definition “meat preparation” (point 1.15 appendix I Regulation (EC) No 853/2004) doesn’t mean “wyroby mięsne” but “surowe wyroby mięsne”. According to this definition “surowe wyroby mięsne” means fresh meat, including meat that has been reduced to fragments, which has had foodstuffs, seasonings or additives added to it or which has undergone processes insufficient to modify the internal muscle fibre structure of the meat and thus to eliminate the characteristics of fresh meat."

 

After som search I also found that there were an official correction to the polish version of 853/2004. However, this new version is not found on the major sites on internet wich is kind of a shame..

I think that i will have to settle with that our producer is trying really hard to keep the limits down :)



#12 Scampi

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 02:11 PM

The reason the limits are not the same for fresh meat vs meat preparation is that on fresh meat, you can almost guarantee that the surface of the meat will reach the necessary temperature to render any bacteria including ecoli inactive. You cannot say the same with a preparation as the bacteria on the surface have been mixed throughout the end product.  It's the reason in Canada you cannot order a hamburger cooked only to medium UNLESS the meat has been ground on site that day.

What your supplier is sending you IMHO should be required to meet the standards of fresh meat, not a preparation as you are purchasing whole muscle tissue that has been cubed. If you were purchasing ground meat, then the applicable standard would be for a preparation.

 

From a draft Canadian report on EColi

 

Between March 2001 and February 2002, the CFIA, Health Canada and the Canadian Meat Council (CMC) conducted a joint baseline study on the microbiological quality of ground beef manufactured at federally-registered establishments in Canada. This study showed that processors should be able to produce ground beef in which the level of generic E. coli is consistently ≤100 CFU/g. Therefore,  processors should target a level of generic E. coli that does not exceed 100 CFU/g (but preferably not exceeding 10 CFU/g) in the ground beef product, to demonstrate adequate GMPs and sanitation procedures.  It is also important that processors producing PM for FRGBP production conduct generic E. coli testing at some point(s) in their operation to assess process control. As the aforementioned study did not assess generic E. coli levels in FRGBP precursor material, such as beef trim, nor in BPPRC, it will be incumbent on the manufacturers of these materials to establish levels of E. coli that would be indicative of GMP deficiencies. Processors may use other indicators such as Enterobacteriaceae or coliforms, but they should be able to provide scientific justification for their choice and acceptance level


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