Friday, September 9, 2016

Beef packers don’t like increased testing

Beef-industry leaders for Tyson, Cargill and JBS objected when the Food Safety and Inspection said it’s going to start testing for food-poisoning bacteria on primal cuts.

It tests ground beef and trimmings now, but Dan Engeljohn, assistant administrator of FSIS's Office of Policy and Program Development, told an industry conference this week that it will begin testing primal cuts by the end of the year.

He said it’s because many customers grind primal cuts into hamburger. Any harmful bacteria on the surfaces will be blended into the centre where it’s less likely to be killed by cooking heat.

The company officials objected, saying that testing trimmings and hamburger ought to suffice.

If and when the increased testing comes into effect, it will likely apply to all Canadian beef destined for export to the U.S.

So far, no word from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, but that's not surprising. It simply follows U.S. leads, probably under industry pressure to support trade. Public health? Not an issue!