AMS Sets New Food Safety Standards

AMS Sets New Food Safety Standards

Ground beef requirements for Federal programs are toughened.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA has completed tough new food safety standards for ground beef purchased by the Agricultural Marketing Service for Federal food and nutrition assistance programs including school lunches. The new requirements will be applicable to AMS ground beef contracts awarded on or after July 1, 2010.

In addition to continuing a zero tolerance for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella the new AMS standards will tighten microbiological testing protocols; tighten the microbiological upper specification and critical limits; increase microbiological sampling frequency for finished products to every 15 minutes; and institute additional rejection criteria for source trimmings used to manufacture AMS purchased ground beef.

As for vendors who exhibit a long-term poor safety record, AMS will consider them ineligible to participate in Federal programs until a complete cause-and-effect analysis is completed.

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