Understanding the specific procedures that are associated with the meat manufacturing and distribution process is an essential part of owning and managing a meat processing facility. Even the smallest establishments that produce cooked, ready-to-eat poultry and beef products must follow compliance guidelines initiated by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
FSIS Appendix A Guidelines for Meat Processing
Performing hot-holding or cooling cycles for each product, acknowledging temperature stabilization standards and operational parameters are all part of the process of creating safe, ready-to-eat poultry and beef products.
With recent alterations to the FSIS Appendix A guidelines, users have a clear knowledge of products requiring cooling or hot-holding, certain temperature ranges to keep them at, and how to evaluate them. Businesses can establish safe and consistent systems that will ultimately help them maintain compliance and pass inspections simply by following certain procedures.
Stabilization Process for Restricting Bacteria Growth
The growth of bacteria is one of the most important factors to avoid during meat processing. The process of stabilization is an effective technique that limits the growth of bacteria. According to the FSIS Compliance Guideline, the term stabilization is defined as, “the process of preventing or limiting the growth of spore-forming bacteria capable of producing toxins either in the product or in the human intestine after consumption.”
Stabilization could include hot-holding and cooling in addition to other processes that render the product shelf safe or stable at room temperatures. While cooling and hot-holding are vital methods utilized in stabilization, monitoring the temperature thresholds are particularly important.
It is necessary to decrease the temperature of the meat to stop or reduce deterioration and bacterial growth. Cooling of the meat slows and almost stops the development of surface micro-organisms. According to the updated Appendix A guidelines, during cooling of fully and partially heat-treated products, the maximum internal temperature should not stay between 130 °F and 80 °F for more than 1.5 hours, nor between 80 °F and 40 °F for more over 5 hours.
The process of holding meat and poultry products at hot temperatures before distribution is called hot-holding. Products can be held for up to 4 hours if they are kept at over 140 °F according to the updated Appendix A guidelines. It is recommended that processors should not hold a product above 140 °F unless they have created precise temperature control over every part of the product.
Bacteria such as clostridia can emerge, producing toxins that can be unsafe for human consumption if the meat is left at a temperature longer than the recommended time. Whilst cooking poultry and meat products at the correct temperatures will destroy the cells of bacteria such as clostridia and salmonella, other vegetative cells are more likely to grow if the meat or poultry is not cooled quickly.
This is an especially common problem with products which are cooked in large batches, for example, large processing facilities selling to supermarkets that experience recalls. This is why it is critical for processors to keep and log temperatures over certain amounts of time based on the phase of the hot-holding or cooling cycles.
MadgeTech’s Data Loggers for Temperature Monitoring
Monitoring strict temperature thresholds can be performed effortlessly with MadgeTech’s line of data loggers that are specifically made for meat and poultry processing. Their comprehensive line of data loggers are perfect for internal meat temperature monitoring, oven temperature mapping, and meat cooling validation. Each data logger purchase includes a free software download for users to view reports easily.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by MadgeTech, Inc.
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