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What food safety regulations are in place for niche meat producers?

Casey McKissick, Program Director for NC Choices, CEFS and operates Foothills Pasture Raised Meats

Casey McKissick, Program Director for NC Choices, CEFS and operates Foothills Pasture Raised Meats

There are many food safety regulations in animal production and processing. How does this affect niche markets? Do you test for E Coli 0157:H7?

Casey McKissick: Since 1994 USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has required all inspected meat processing facilities who produce raw ground beef products to comply with mandatory E. coli 0157:H7 testing. Meat processors who serve the local and niche meat industry must comply with these and other food safety testing programs and are responsible for most, if not all the costs involved. While small plants are dedicated to food safety testing, they are also faced with very high overhead costs in relation to their daily throughput and revenue- spreading these costs out over fewer units of sale. The increasing cost of regulatory compliance is often cited as a major impediment to growth for small meat processing facilities.

More information on E. coli testing in USDA inspected plants can be found here.
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/microbiology/ec/background-testing-program-for-e-coli-o157h7-and-non-o157-stec/about-e-coli-testing-program

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