USDA Issues Instruction To Beef Inspectors For National School Lunch Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued three notices this week about beef inspection. They provide instruction on: sampling raw beef for the National School Lunch Program, selecting raw beef trim for test samples and for receiving, inspecting and slaughtering live cattle imported from Mexico.

National School Lunch Program

The USDA issued this notice after it became “aware that additional instructions are needed” for beef inspectors for the school lunch program. Specifically, that inspectors should collect samples for E.coli testing even if the establishment does its own testing and collect follow-up samples when either a USDA sample or a sample collected by the establishment tests positive for E. coli O157:H7.

Beef Trim Samples

When establishments produce multiple types of trimmings, inspectors must collect some of each type. Products intended for exposure to anhydrous ammonia antimicrobial treatment (to be ammoniated) is subject to USDA sampling at the slaughter establishment before it is sent elsewhere to be ammoniated.

Cattle Imported From Mexico

As of  January 30, 2012, cattle from Mexico may be imported for immediate slaughter. Inspectors in charge should conduct awareness meetings so that all employees involved understand the key points as follows:

Mexican cattle may only be slaughtered at designated establishments.

Only designated employees from approved establishments are eligible to break official
seals on cattle trucks arriving at the establishment.

Mexican cattle designated for immediate slaughter must be segregated at all times from non-Mexican cattle and must be slaughtered as a lot or in sub-lots within 14 days of arrival.

If there is a discrepancy in number or identification of Mexican cattle presented at  the plant, authorized representatives must provide a prompt explanation.

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