PRESS RELEASES & NEWS
Changes Coming Soon to USDA-FSIS Testing, Sampling for E. Coli, Salmonella in Beef
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has announced upcoming changes and expansions to its beef sampling and testing programs for Escherichia coli and Salmonella.
FSIS to Replace N60 Method with Cloth Method to Sample Trim.
Beginning February 1, 2023, FSIS intends to stop using the N60 excision method to sample domestic beef manufacturing trimmings and bench trim for adulterant Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Salmonella. FSIS will replace the N60 excision sampling method with a non-destructive surface sampling method that uses a cloth.
Should Nuts and Low-Moisture Foods Consider a New Sampling Approach
By Dr. Eric Wilhelmsen
A pervasive trend exists to take larger and more frequent samples to address microbial contamination. This trend has touched almonds and is expected to hit other nut products. Various low-moisture powders have been shown to be very heterogeneous with regard to pathogen contamination. If experience holds true, then increased sample size and increasing numbers of samples will only marginally improve the situation, providing a superficially satisfying solution until it no longer satisfies. All food safety practitioners know that the underlying problems will be solved only by process and practice changes. It is impossible to test safety into a product. In the meantime, and to assist in the development and implementation of these improvements, perhaps it is time to invest in an improved sampling approach.
Determination of Verification Parameters for Using the Manual Sampling Device for Fresh Raw Beef Trim
By Dr. Terrance M. Arthur, Ted Brown and Dr. Tommy L. Wheeler
Multifaceted food safety systems are used by the beef processing industry to minimize risk of bacterial contamination
of the finished product. These systems are comprised of several parts including the conditional release
of product requiring a sample to produce a negative result on a pathogen test prior to sending the product into
the food supply. The methods of sample collection require verification activities that ensure the sampling protocols
are performed adequately. The research described herein was done to determine the parameters for use
in verifying adequate beef trim sampling for the Manual Sampling Device (MSD) method. In addition, the efficacy
of repeated sampling via multiple applications of the MSD procedure on a fresh raw beef trim combo was
investigated. The results show that MSD sample collection that covers less than the entire combo surface, but at
least one‐half of the combo surface and is collected for a minimum of 90 s, is adequate for the recovery of
organisms and prevalence targets from fresh raw beef trim. In addition, the evidence that MSD sample collection
that occurs for less than the recommended time, but not less than 30 s per side of the swab, is adequate for
the recovery of organisms and prevalence targets from raw beef trim. Finally, results show that in a scenario
where an in‐plant MSD sample and a regulatory MSD sample are required from the same combo, two MSD samples
can be collected from the same combo bin with similar test results for both samples. While the recommended
MSD protocol specifications will not be changed, the data presented herein provide support for
some flexibility in accepting test results when verification activities indicate that sampling did not occur as
specified in the recommended procedure.
Ongoing Improvements to Meat and Poultry Safety
By Dr. Eric Wilhelmsen
The meat and poultry industries are an interesting mix of conservative practices and innovation. A handful of large players control the bulk of production; yet, numerous small players find their niches. Beef is king. Poultry might be queen, but pork seafood are serious sectors in their own right. The rise of plant-based substitutes and lab-cultured substitutes adds excitement and turmoil. Given this complexity, it is impossible to examine all aspects of new developments in the wider meat and poultry sectors. This article examines five specific topics and their implications to protein food:
Meat safety as a model for the produce industry
Increased interest in Salmonella
Focus on Listeria monocytogenes
The move toward aggregated sampling
Developing safety needs for lab-cultivated protein products.
Novel Continuous and Manual Sampling Methods for Beef Trim Microbiological Testing
By Dr. Terrance M. Arthur and Dr. Tommy L. Wheeler
A sampling method that represents a greater proportion of the beef trimmings in a 900-kg combo bin should improve the
current pathogen sampling and detection programs used by fresh beef processors. This study compared two novel, nondestructive
sampling methodologies (a continuous sampling device [CSD] and a manual sampling device [MSD]) with the current industry
methodologies, the N60 Excision (the ‘‘gold standard’’) and N60 Plus, for collection of trim samples. Depending on the
experiment, samples were analyzed for naturally occurring Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella, inoculated surrogates, or
indicator organisms in multiple plants, on multiple days, across multiple lean percentage mixtures. Experiments 1A and 1B with
natural contamination found no E. coli O157:H7 but similar (P . 0.05) prevalence of Salmonella (CSD 9.2% versus N60
Excision 6.0%) and similar (P . 0.05) levels of indicator organisms for CSD compared with both N60 methodologies. In
experiments 2 and 3, CSD cloth sampling had the same or higher prevalence of naturally occurring E. coli O157:H7 and E. coli
O157:H7 surrogate organisms, as well as similar levels of indicator organisms compared with the N60 methodologies. In
experiment 4, MSD cloth sampling detected similar (P . 0.05) prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 surrogate organisms, as well as
slightly lower (P , 0.05) levels of indicator organisms compared with N60 Plus. In experiment 5, the MSD found similar (P .
0.05) prevalence of naturally occurring E. coli O157:H7 and the same or slightly higher (P , 0.05) levels of naturally occurring
indicator organisms compared with N60 Plus. In experiment 6, the MSD detected the same (P . 0.05) prevalence of naturally
occurring Salmonella as did N60 Excision. The results of these experiments collectively demonstrate that sampling beef trim
using either the CSD or MSD provides organism recovery that is similar to or better than the N60 Excision or the N60 Plus
The Apparent Evolution of Sampling for Food Safety
By Dr. Eric Wilhelmsen
Sampling and related testing is often in the spotlight when pathogens cause illness in most any food product. Inadequate sampling with testing is often identified as the cause of the illness when in fact testing does not mitigate food safety problems. Sampling and testing together are an assessment tool that can divert some effected material, but its mitigation power does not compare to the power of preventive measures for mitigating pathogen risk. Successful sampling programs must address the needed sensitivity and the ability to represent the lots under assessment, which are part of a “fit for purpose” assessment. This latter aspect relates to the accuracy of any single assessment that is critical if the sampling and testing are being used to divert affected materials.
Validation of Additional Approaches and Applications for Using the Continuous and Manual Sampling Devices for Raw Beef Trim
By Dr. Terrance M. Arthur and Dr. Tommy L. Wheeler
In this work, the goal was to determine the efficacy of MicroTally®-based sampling in scenarios commonly encountered in
the commercial beef processing industry, but outside of the parameters evaluated during the initial proof-of-concept work. The
data were derived from 1,650 matched samples collected from 540 individual combo bins at six commercial beef processing
plants, comparing MicroTally®-based sampling (continuous and manual sampling devices [CSD and MSD]) to N60 Excision and/
or N60 Plus methods. Mounting a 61-cm CSD cartridge to a 30-cm-wide conveyor provided sampling that is equivalent to N60
Excision and N60 Plus methods. Mounting a CSD to a chute instead of a conveyor was equivalent to the N60 Plus sampling
method. The CSD was shown to be effective for sampling when used in conjunction with a “swinging arm trim diverter” and
receiving product in batch mode as opposed to continuous flow. MSD sampling of oval combo bins with trim surface area
(’0.93 m2 [’1,439 in2]) less than 1 m2 (1,600 in2) was shown to be equivalent to the N60 Plus sample collection method.
Peracetic acid applied at the end of the trim conveyor did not negatively impact pathogen index target detection of the CSD even
if the samples were shipped overnight before analysis. Pathogen index targets were demonstrated to be useful tools for
validating methods designed to measure pathogen prevalence. The data presented herein support equivalency criteria of within
0.5 log CFU per sample for indicator organism counts. These data collectively support various alternative applications of
MicroTally-based trim sampling and the application and interpretation of alternative methods for pathogen detection.
Use of a Non-Destructive Surface Sampling Device to Sample Domestic Beef Manufacturing Trimmings and Bench Trim
On February 1, 2023, FSIS intends to stop using the N60 excision sampling method to sample domestic beef manufacturing trimmings and bench trim for adulterant Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) (STEC) and Salmonella. FSIS intends to replace the N60 excision sampling method with a non-destructive surface sampling method that uses a cloth manual sampling device. FSIS has found that the cloth sampling method is as effective as the N60 excision sampling method at recovering organisms in beef manufacturing trimmings. Additionally, the cloth sampling method is faster and safer for FSIS inspection program personnel (IPP) to use because it does not require IPP to use hooks or knives to collect samples. Moreover, the cloth sampling method allows FSIS to sample without destroying product, which reduces food waste.
FSIS will implement the cloth sampling on February 1, 2023, unless the Agency receives substantive comments that warrant further review. Submit comments on or before January 23, 2023.
FREMONTA Corp. & USDA-ARS Scientists
Win the 2020 USDA-ARS Technology Transfer Award
The Technology Transfer Award is presented to USDA-ARS Employees and collaborators who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology to the private sector for commercialization and practical use.
Congratulations to Dr.Wheeler, Dr. Arthur, Dr. Wu and Mr. Hoffmann for receiving this prestigious award for developing and commercializing this innovative breakthrough technology!
IAFP Poster: E. Coli from Beef Trim using Surface Swabs
See the IAFP Poster on Recovery of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 by the Bax® System in Beef Trim using Surface Sampling Swabs.
USDA/ARS Food Scientists Win FLC 2019 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for Work on MicroTally™
The Federal Laboratory Consortium awarded Dr. Tommy Wheeler and Dr. Terry Arthur for their work on developing new sampling technology for detecting pathogens in beef trim. FREMONTA is proud to be working with Dr. Wheeler and Dr. Arthur to bring this new technology to the industry through the MicroTally™ Sampling Devices!
MicroTally™ Selected For an Oral Presentation at BIFSCo 2019
MicroTally™ use for the detection of E. coli O157 has been selected for an oral presentation at the 2019 Beef Industry Safety Summit, March 5-7, in Kansas City, MO. The presentation by Dr. Hua Yang will be on Tuesday, March 5th from 2:30 – 4:00PM CT. More information TBA.
USDA Meat Animal Research and FREMONTA Corp. Renew CRADA in 2018
The USDA Agricultural Research Service and FREMONTA Corp. signed a renewed and updated Cooperative Research and Developmental Agreement (CRADA). The four major objectives of the new expanded CRADA are: (1) To establish the ability of...
MicroTally™ Swab Valid for Salmonella and E. coli Detection Using GENE-UP Analysis
A matrix extension verification was conducted to demonstrate fit-for-purpose application of MicroTally™ Swabs for the detection of Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli O157:H7. The findings provide laboratories and the beef industry with confidence that the results of MicroTally™ sampling in conjunction with GENE-UP analysis are valid.
USDA/FSIS Leadership Endorsement of MSD/CSD Sampling for Beef Trim
Dr. Kiecker, Head Administrator of the USDA FSIS, makes the statement, "I don't know why we wouldn't be using this", in reference to the MicroTally™ sampling devices, during his presentation at the Beef Industry Food Safety Conference (BIFSCo) in Dallas. The references MSD and CSD have earned a "Letter of No Objection" from the USDA/FSIS.