Chapter 4 - Meat Processing Controls and Procedures
4.3 Fresh Meat Control Programs

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4.3.1 Boning and Cutting

Cutting, boning, slicing and dicing of fresh meat product are done, by present industry practices, either manually (hand saws, knives, wizards and electric saws) by designated employees or by automated equipment (such as may be used for poultry cutting and breast boning). In either case, the operator's Control Programs must include procedures that address the build-up of product material on the equipment, to minimize cross contamination of product over time on a given production line.

A carcass re-inspection station located prior to cutting and/or boning is required for red meat and must be equiped as per MOP Chapter 3, section 3.4.12, Check Trim Station. This station must be equipped with a directly drained and remote controlled or timed hand wash facility, an 82°C water sanitizer and adequate lighting. Facilities for the removal of bones and trimmings must be provided.

Establishments receiving beef carcasses or partial carcasses from cattle 30 months or older containing SRM must follow control procedures as outlined in Chapter 17 of the MOP.

4.3.1.1 Terminology

Boneless Red Meat:

Boneless meat from cattle, calf, sheep, goat, horse or swine carcasses, including boneless cuts and trimmings.

Trimmings:

Meat pieces obtained during deboning and which do not meet any meat cut labelling specification.

Lot (for the purposes of this section):

For the purposes of this section a lot is whichever is the lesser of:

  • a shipment or part of a shipment of boneless manufacturing meat derived from a single species going to a single destination; or
  • 4 hours of production of boneless manufacturing meat derived from a single species from a single boning line.

Boneless Meat Verification:

Evaluation technique of CFIA inspectors, in which samples are taken from the assembled "lot" of product to determine its wholesomeness.

Lot Examination:

An evaluation technique of the operator in which samples are taken from the assembled lot of product.

On-Line Examination:

Operator's examination technique in which product is sampled from each production line or common source at a specified frequency to determine the ability of the process to produce wholesome product.

4.3.1.2 Control Program for Boneless Fresh Meat

The operator must include in the establishment's control program for raw meat derived from any species, a monitoring program for incoming products, destined for cutting, boning, slicing or dicing, as a fresh meat product. For guidelines, refer to Annex F. If the operator chooses to use methods for the control programs, other than those outlined in Annex F, these must be evaluated by the CFIA to ensure that they reach the same outcome, taking into account volume of production, establishment layout and species of fresh meat.

The mandatory outcome of the boneless fresh meat control program is to minimize the outgrowth of pathogens either in an end-product for the consumer or when the product is destined for further processing. It the operator's responsibility to ensure that the control program for environmental risk factors for contamination of product are effective and verifiable.

The optional use of antimicrobial agents, when used as pathogen reduction procedures for cutting of raw meat, must be included as part of the operator's control program. The agent must be an agent approved by Health Canada. Contact the CFIA Area Program Specialist for information for approved antimicrobial agents for meat products. Concentration and rinse/drip times are key steps that must be included in the operator's control program, to avoid build-up of chemical residues on the end-product.

4.3.1.2.1 Lot Examination

Sampling plans, methods and criteria for disposition of lots of boneless meat are found in Annex F, Part 1. Should the operator elect to use alternate sampling plans, methods and/or criteria, these must be evaluated by the CFIA to ensure that they are at least equivalent with Annex F, Part 1. The operator's approved alternative plan is then monitored by the CFIA.

Each time a lot is evaluated, the following procedure should be followed by the operator:

  • Once the lot is completely assembled, determine its size (in kg), and select the corresponding sampling plan (with reference to Annex F, Part 1).
  • Randomly select the containers from the lot in proportion to different code marks, and remove the required number of 5.5 kg sample units from the containers.
  • Examine the product, classify defects using the defect criteria table and determine acceptance or rejection according to the sampling plan.
  • Record results.
  • If the lot is rejected: After reconditioning, re-inspect the rejected lot using the next, higher sampling plan and double the frequency of monitoring for the rest of the production shift.

4.3.1.2.2 On-line Examination

The operator of the establishment must design, document and implement an on-line sampling and examination program for boneless meat at a point close to where the product is placed into containers. Examination results must be retained for a minimum of one year.

The minimum sampling size and schedule per boning line should be 15 kg for each 30 minutes of production (random time sampling twice hourly).

The examination program must be capable of achieving the following results:

  • Assure that all boneless meat produced under the program is capable of passing the lot inspection/examination program previously described using the designated sampling plans and defect criteria.
  • Reject, hold and recondition product when defects exceed limits. Product produced since the last satisfactory evaluation must be reconditioned.

Prior to approval by the Inspector in Charge, the effectiveness of the program must be evaluated using lot examination to assure that on-line examination achieves equivalent or better results than lot examination. The supporting documentation and evaluation must be kept in file by the CFIA.

4.3.2 Comminuting

Comminuting processes include mechanical separation, flaking and grinding. Potential hazards associated with these automated processes include pathogen outgrowth from precursor materials and temperature abuse during production, metal particles from the equipment, excessive amounts of bone fragments and residual SRM.

See Annex O for policy specifications on the detection of E. coli O157:H7 in raw beef.

4.3.3 Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) and Finely Textured Meat (FTM)

Mechanical meat/bone separation equipment operates by using mechanical pressure to separate muscle tissue from the attached bones. The equipment operates on the differing resistance of bone and soft tissue to pass through small openings, such as sieves or screens. Depending on the composition of the final product, the resulting edible product is referred to as finely textured meat or mechanically separated meat (e.g. finely textured chicken or mechanically separated beef).

MSM is an edible product obtained by removing muscle tissue attached to bones by the means of mechanical meat/bone separation equipment that contains:

  • no more than 0.027% of calcium for every 1% of protein;
  • no bone particles larger than 2 mm in size; and
  • a minimum protein content of:
    • 10%; or
    • if destined for retail sale, 14%.

FTM is an edible product obtained by removing muscle tissue attached to bones by the means of mechanical meat/bone separation equipment that contains:

  • no skin;
  • no more than 0.15% of calcium;
  • no bone particles larger than 1.5 mm in size and a maximum of 20% of the bone particles larger than 1 mm in size; and
  • a minimum protein content of:
    • 10%; or
    • if destined for retail sale, 14%.

FTM can be used in the preparation of ground meat or identified as ground meat when:

  • it has a minimum protein content of 14%; and
  • bones emerging from separation equipment must be essentially intact and recognizable to assure that the bones are not being crushed, ground or pulverized; and
  • it complies with the standards set out within Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990. The term "regular", "medium", "lean" or "extra lean" must be used as appropriate in order to indicate the maximum fat content (i.e. 30%, 23%, 17% or 10% respectively).

4.3.3.1 Raw Material Used in the Preparation of FTM and MSM

The regulatory definition for MSM prohibits the use of any previously deboned meat as input material. In FTM, hand or mechanically deboned trimmings that contain bone particles or cartilage may be used.

Important considerations:

  • lungs must be removed from all poultry carcasses and portions prior to their use as material for mechanical separation;
  • poultry carcasses dressed with kidneys may be used for MSM only, as long as the resulting product is properly labelled. The statement "Contains kidneys" or "With kidneys" must appear by the product name. It is to be noted that this mention must also appear on the ingredients list of any product made with MSM containing kidneys;
  • skulls must not be used; and
  • the spinal cord must be removed from ruminant, equine and porcine carcasses and portions prior to their use as material for mechanical separation.

Bones, carcasses or parts of a carcass must be kept or transported at time/temperature combinations that will ensure their hygienic acceptability when used for mechanical separation.

Bones must be:

  • maintained at a temperature not exceeding 10°C and mechanically separated within 5 hours of boning; or
  • refrigerated to 4°C and mechanically separated within 72 hours of boning; or
  • refrigerated to -2°C and mechanically separated within 120 hours of boning; or
  • immediately placed in a freezer and frozen within 48 hours of boning.

4.3.3.2 Control of Lungs and Kidneys in Poultry Carcasses and Parts of Carcasses

Kidneys and lungs must be removed from poultry carcasses and portions prior to their use as material for mechanical separation. Kidneys may be left in FTM/MSM input materials where the product is labelled as containing kidneys and is produced for export or for use other than as an ingredient in a prepared meat product.

The operator must have a control program in place to ensure proper removal of kidneys (when appropriate), and lungs in poultry carcasses and parts of carcasses used as raw material in the preparation of MSM or FTM.

This protocol is based on ISO Table #2859-1 at an inspection level of S-4, for a lot or batch size ranging from 1,201 to 10,000 units.

Upon arrival of the raw material at the establishment or prior to the processing of the material, the operator must perform a random selection of 20 carcasses or 20 units per combo or a lot of similar size.

  • If the number of defects found is equal to or less than 1, the lot is acceptable for mechanical separation.
  • If the number of defects found is equal to or greater than 4, the lot must be rejected.
  • If the number of defects found is between 1 and 4, a second sample of 20 units must be evaluated. The number of defects in the first and second sample must be totalled.
  • If the cumulative number of defects found is equal to or less than 4, the lot is acceptable for mechanical separation.
  • If the cumulative number of defects found is equal to or greater than 5, the lot must be rejected.

One defect is defined as a carcass or unit with kidney (when not acceptable) and/or lung. The rejected product must be reworked and resubmitted for sampling, returned to the originator, or treated as inedible product.

The presence of kidney is defined as the presence of a part of a lobule or several lobules measuring at least 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm. The presence of lung is defined as a part of lung measuring at least 1 cm x 1 cm.

If the operator chooses to use methods for the control programs, other than those outlined above, these must be evaluated by the CFIA to ensure that they reach the same outcome, taking into account volume of production.

4.3.3.3 Use of Pork or Poultry Skin as Raw Material When Producing MSM

Mechanically Separated Pork or Poultry Meat will be deemed to contain skin unless the manufacturer indicates otherwise on the product's label.

Only pieces which have naturally adhering skin can be used to make MSM; detached skin or pieces which have loose skin flaps cannot be used. For example, skin-on necks which have attached neck skin can be used to make MSM but necks to which flaps of breast or back skin have been left attached cannot be used.

When MSM is used in the manufacture of a formulated meat product, unless the MSM is free of skin and has been identified as such by the supplier, it is considered as containing the allowed eight percent (8%) skin as indicated in notes 2(h) and 2(j) of Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 (MIR). MSM made from skinless raw material may be labelled as "Skinless - Sans peau".

When using skinless MSM in the formulation of a meat product, up to 8% of skin from the named species is permitted under the MIR Schedule I. The added 8% can only be applied to products which have skin on them (for example, it would not apply to beef tongues or gizzards).

Examples: Determination of the quantity of pork skin which may be added to the following recipes:

a) 55 kg of skinless pork trim:

25 kg of pork MSM
20 kg of water
kg of pork skin

As the MSM is not labelled as "skinless", the amount of skin that may added is calculated for the 55 kg of skinless pork trim only, which gives us an "x" value of 4.4 kg (8% of 55 kg). This gives us the following final recipe:

50.6 kg of skinless pork trim + 4.4 kg of pork skin
25 kg of pork MSM
20 kg of water

b) 55 kg of skinless pork trim:

25 kg of pork MSM without skin
20 kg of water
kg of pork skin

As the MSM is labelled as "skinless", the amount of skin that may be added is calculated for both the pork trim and the MSM which gives us an "x" value of 6.4 kg: 4.4 kg for the pork trim and 2 kg for the MSM (8% of 80 kg). This gives us the following final recipe:

50.6 kg of skinless pork trim + 4.4 kg of pork skin
23 kg of pork MSM without skin + 2 kg of pork skin
20 kg of water

4.3.3.3.1 Sampling Procedure and Tolerance for Pork or Poultry Skin

The operator must have a control program in place for skinless MSM which includes a sampling plan. For the purpose of this sampling plan the definition of a lot is the same as in the above item 4.3.3.2 Control of Lungs and Kidneys in Poultry Carcasses and Parts of Carcasses.

The total skin area of all sample units (up to 20) cannot exceed 25 cm2 (i.e.in2).

  • Select a 10 unit sample at random and examine for the presence of skin. A unit is an intact piece, e.g. front half shell, breast frame, shell, skinless back or neck.
  • If no skin is found, the mechanically separated meat may be identified as "Skinless - Sans peau".
  • If the total skin on the first 10 units exceeds 25 cm2, the lot cannot be used in the preparation of "Skinless - Sans peau" products unless it is reworked to remove the skin and presented for reinspection.
  • Any skin found in the first 10 sample units not exceeding the tolerance, requires random selection of a second 10 unit sample from the same lot. Product where the skin found in the total 20 unit sample does not exceed the tolerance may be used in the preparation of "Skinless - Sans peau" products. Products where the skin exceeds the tolerance must be reworked to remove the skin and presented for reinspection.

If the operator chooses to use methods for the control programs, other than those outlined above, these must be evaluated by the CFIA to ensure that they reach the same outcome, taking into account volume of production.

4.3.3.4 Handling of MSM and FTM

Unless MSM or FTM is used directly after the separation process as an ingredient of a meat product, it must be:

  • cooled to a temperature close to 0°C (±2°C) in conjunction with the deboning process or immediately afterwards;
  • cooled to a temperature close to 0°C (±2°C) in conjunction with the deboning process or immediately afterwards and cured; or
  • frozen immediately after the deboning process.

4.3.3.5 Shipment of MSM From One Registered Establishment to Another for Incorporation Into a Prepared Meat Product

MSM may be shipped from one registered establishment to another in the refrigerated, refrigerated and cured or frozen state. The operator is responsible to implement proper controls over the conditions under which the product is handled to ensure its wholesomeness.

Refrigerated MSM (cured or non-cured) should be maintained at temperatures close to 0°C and should be closely monitored from production to utilization.

4.3.3.6 Control Program for MSM and FTM

For purposes of this program, a lot shall consist of the mechanically separated meat or finely textured meat produced from a single species in no more than one continuous shift of up to 12 hours.

Start-up plan

This plan is used when the equipment is first installed, when major components are replaced (e.g. a separating drum or filter, separating screens, screen plates or perforated screen, feeding screw [i.e. worm], etc.) or when major repairs are made.

Under this sampling plan the operator must test each lot for calcium, protein and bone particle until 10 consecutive lots are in compliance. Once this is achieved, the monitoring plan can be used.

The sample to be analysed shall consist of 20 sub-samples taken during the lot run. If the shift is 8 hours (480 minutes) sampling must be done every 24 minutes (480/20 = 24 minutes). Likewise, if the scheduled lot run is 6 hours (360 minutes) sampling must be done every 18 minutes (360/20 = 18 minutes).

The shift must be a minimum of 4 hours to be considered in this start-up plan, unless the operator's normal operating shift is less than 4 hours.

Each sub-sample should be about 30 grams. The samples may be placed in the same container (e.g. a plastic bag) so that at the end of the lot run it will contain about 600 grams of product.

The tested lots are to be held until receipt of an acceptable laboratory report.

Monitoring plan

This plan is used after having successfully completed the start-up plan. Under this sampling plan the operator must test for calcium, protein and bone particles in 1 lot out of 5 lots.

For the purpose of this monitoring plan a sample of at least 500 g shall be taken randomly from the production lot. The tested lots may move freely prior to receipt of the laboratory report.

Performance Criteria and Tolerances for Results Analysis

Performance Criteria and Tolerances for Results Analysis for Mechanically separated meat
Mechanically separated meat Performance criteria Tolerance
Bone particle No bone particle larger than 2 mm none
Calcium No more than 0.027% of calcium for every 1% of protein 0.03%
Protein Minimum of 10% or 14% according to declared use none
Performance Criteria and Tolerances for Results Analysis for finely textured meat
Finely textured meat Performance criteria Tolerance
Bone particle No bone particle larger than 1.5 mm and a maximum of 20% of the bone particles larger than 1 mm none
Calcium No more than 0.15% 0.03%
Protein Minimum of 10% or 14% according to declared use none

In the case of protein the results must be rounded to the nearest 0.1% (i.e. 9.76% would be rounded to 9.8, not 10%).

The operator must have deviation procedures for product which does not meet the standards outlined in 4.3.3.

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