Chapter 5 - Sampling and Testing
5.3 Bacteria

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5.3.1 Introduction

This section deals with bacterial sampling and testing programs conducted by inspectors in registered slaughter and processing plants. Sampling and testing by the company is covered in Chapter 4.

CFIA sampling programs are not a preventive measure; the purposes of microbial sampling are to:

  • ensure that industry is implementing systems and practices to ensure the production of safe food;
  • verify that food production practices are in compliance with applicable standards, acts and guidelines;
  • demonstrate the safety of products available in the Canadian marketplace, assuring consumers that the government has systems in place to ensure the food they consume is safe;
  • help to reduce trade barriers and demonstrate equivalency with trading partners, promoting fair trade of the importation and exportation of foods within Canada; and
  • control diseases of animal health and public health concern.

Prior to April 1 each year, Programs, Science, and Operations Branches collaborate to determine the number of samples that can be acquired and analyzed for the following fiscal year. This process takes into consideration Program needs (including regulatory and trade requirements), as well as operational and laboratory resources. Once an agreement has been reached between the three Branches, the planned sample numbers are distributed by National Headquarters to the Areas for further distribution to the inspectors in the field. It is important to note that:

  1. the sampling plans define a critical element of the Agency's activities used to verify that industry is operating in compliance with mandatory food safety acts and regulations, and therefore all scheduled samples need to be submitted.
  2. the numbers of samples have been committed to by the Operations Branch and Science Branch based on available resources during the planning process; if there is a discrepancy in the perceived availability of resources between NHQ and the Areas, this must be clearly communicated back to NHQ in a timely manner so that it may be addressed prior to April 1; and
  3. samples should be distributed evenly throughout the fiscal year in order to optimize the availability of resources and to monitor the food supply throughout all seasons (only highly seasonal products are excluded from this sampling criterion) .

All sample submissions must be entered into the Laboratory Sample Tracking System (LSTS) and sent to the laboratory indicated in the annual microbiological sampling plan.

Inspectors should advise the operator any time a sample is taken. Form CFIA/ACIA 4168 Receipt for Sample(s) can be used for this purpose. It is recommended that operators hold the lot of product sampled under plan M200, M201 or M218 pending results, since an unsatisfactory laboratory report could result in product recall if product has been distributed. For these plans, the operator should be notified prior to taking the sample.

For monitoring programs, sample plans are issued by Food Safety Division at the start of each fiscal year in the form of the National Microbiological Sampling Guidelines and Assessment Criteria.

Samples may be collected at any point along the production chain: from carcasses on the evisceration floor, from raw product, from ready-to-eat (RTE) product, or from the plant environment.

5.3.2 Samples from carcasses

5.3.2.1 Introduction

Meat has traditionally been implicated as a major source of bacterial foodborne diseases. The food-producing animals themselves often carry pathogenic organisms, such as Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, or Yersinia enterocolitica. During slaughter and cutting, surfaces of red meat and poultry may become contaminated with bacteria, which find the available amino acids an ideal nutrient to support growth and propagation.

5.3.2.2 Mycobacterium bovis

5.3.2.2.1 Introduction

Mycobacterium bovis, the agent of bovine tuberculosis, is a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, along with the closely related M. tuberculosis, the agent of human tuberculosis. Bovine tuberculosis is a zoonotic disease affecting cattle and a wide variety of mammals world-wide. Mycobacterium avium organisms, not usually considered pathogenic for humans, are commonly found in swine and poultry, and cause lesions in cattle that cannot be distinguished from bovine tuberculosis.

Because mycobacteria invoke a weak host response, the infection is persistent and slowly progressive, and characterized by small, rounded granulomas (tubercles).

Cattle are most often infected by inhalation, resulting in lesions in the lungs and bronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes. Swine are most often infected orally, resulting in lesions in the retropharyngeal and mesenteric lymph nodes. However, lesions may be found in any of these sites in both species.

Although once widespread, bovine tuberculosis is now relatively uncommon in Canada. Nonetheless, bovine tuberculosis remains a reportable disease, and the submission of any lesions compatible with tuberculosis for testing remains the foundation of surveillance in Canadian livestock.

For guidance on disposition of affected carcasses and organs, see Chapter 17.

5.3.2.2.2 Sample selection

With the exception of swine, all lesions compatible with tuberculosis should be sampled, along with the surrounding tissues. The appearance of granulomas is variable; all of the following should be sampled:

  • caseous or purulent thin-walled abscesses;
  • nodular or multi-focal tumours;
  • firm nodules with central caseous or calcified (gritty) material;
  • any granuloma or granuloma-like lesion, regardless of suspected cause;
  • nodular, focal, or multi-focal fibrous lesions; and
  • actinomycosis-like lesions.

Tuberculosis can never be identified or ruled out based solely on gross appearance of lesions.

To monitor and validate the frequency of this sampling task in mature cattle, a minimum performance standard has been established. The minimum acceptable submission rate is one tuberculosis-compatible lesion for every 2000 adult (24 months and older) cattle slaughtered in each registered establishment.

Because tuberculosis is a potentially zoonotic disease, no attempt should be made to pre-screen lesions, such as by impression smears.

If there are multiple lesions, collect representative samples of each one. Each lesion must be bisected and submitted for both histopathological examination and culture. Do not send the lymph node from one side of the animal for histology and the corresponding one from the other side for culture.

For swine, lesions are sampled from carcasses only if granulomatous lymphadenitis is generalized. This condition would result in carcass condemnation, as described in Chapter 17, Section 17.9.5.5. Specimens are not required from carcasses affected to a lesser extent.

5.3.2.2.3 Sample submission and testing

Samples submitted for the diagnosis of tuberculosis must be submitted using form CFIA/ACIA 5439, Animal Health Disease Control (DC) Specimen Submission. This form should be generated using the LSTS Sample Submission Forms application. Use one submission form (and therefore one form reference number) per animal. Fresh (or fresh frozen) samples and formalin samples from the same animal are submitted using the same submission form. Note that borate solution is no longer used as a transport medium for mycobacteria, as it frequently resulted in false negative cultures.

Samples should be collected using a TB Sample Kit. See the instructions in Annex D or E, as applicable. The TB kits can be ordered by completing and faxing in the media and material order form (see Annex F).

It is imperative that all forms of identification associated with animals exhibiting these lesions be recorded on the CFIA/ACIA 1528 to facilitate herd tracebacks.

Forward three copies of each submission form to the laboratory. (One is for the histology lab, one for the culture lab, and one for data entry purposes).

Although the instructions at Annexes D and E allow for freezing samples prior to shipping, this should be avoided when possible, as the rate of isolation will be reduced.

The laboratory will conduct histopathology on all specimens, and cultures when indicated.

5.3.2.2.4 Follow-up

Because culture and identification of mycobacteria takes over three months, carcass disposition must be made based solely on gross pathology. See Chapter 17.

Herd tracebacks will be conducted by Animal Health inspectors on all histopathology-positive mycobacteriosis lesions. The inspection staff submitting such lesions will be informed of the results of the investigation.

5.3.3 Samples from raw product

5.3.3.1 Domestic raw ground beef and raw ground veal (M201)

5.3.3.1.1 Introduction

Ground beef has been implicated in a number of food-borne disease outbreaks. In the process of grinding, bacteria present on the surface can be distributed throughout the product. If the product is not cooked for an adequate time at a high enough temperature, bacteria in the centre may not be killed.

Ground beef is monitored for generic E. coli as a marker for contamination; and for E. coli O157:H7/NM because this organism has been implicated in disease outbreaks.

5.3.3.1.2 Sample selection

Sample ground beef or veal at the grinding stage. From a selected lot, randomly select and collect 5 sub-samples of 200 grams each, from five different locations, such that they are representative of the entire lot. Collect the sub-samples aseptically, using sterile gloves, sterile sample bags, and sanitized equipment (knife, hook, tongs, etc.). Do not composite sample units; send five individually packaged sample units to the laboratory.

When combos of trim are selected for grinding, the whole combo(s) must be used for the sampled lot.

Ensure that the lot meets one of the following criteria:

  1. The lot is defined as all the raw ground beef or veal produced under the same conditions from clean-up to clean-up; or
  2. The lot is a "redefined lot" and meets all of the following conditions:
    1. The lot definition is based on the HACCP-based system.
    2. The processor has an acceptable rationale supporting the definition of a lot, and this rationale has been approved by the Inspector in Charge.
    3. The size of the "redefined lot" must be between 900 kg and 4500 kg. If the whole day's production is less than 900 kg, then the entire day's production should be defined as the lot.
    4. The establishment has an effective identification system in place to distinguish one lot from another.

Ensure that a thorough clean up and sanitation is done before and after grinding of the sampled lot.

5.3.3.1.3 Sample submission and testing

If any other ingredients are placed through the grinding stage along with the trim, consult with your Area Program Specialist and the assigned lab for the expected turnaround time for results. Ground beef and veal samples containing spices cannot be assessed using the rapid screening method, and must be analyzed using the cultural method. Therefore these test results will not be available for 4-5 days and the operator will be required to hold the sampled lot for this period of time. If the samples contain spices, state this clearly in the product description on the sample submission form.

Samples are submitted to the CFIA laboratory indicated by the first letter of the assigned sample ID, as follows:

B - Burnaby
C - Calgary
D - Dartmouth
H - St. Hyacinthe
O - Ottawa Carling
T - Greater Toronto Area

Addresses and contact information for the laboratories are provided in Annex G.

5.3.3.1.4 Follow-up

When E. coli O157:H7/NM is detected in a sample, the sampled lot is considered contaminated (adulterated) and the following measures must be taken:

  1. Determine whether the establishment held or shipped the contaminated product. If the contaminated product has been shipped outside the federal system, notify the Office of Food Safety and Recall (OFSR) immediately.
  2. If the contaminated product was shipped to another country, notify Meat Programs Division. Meat Programs Division will notify that country's Competent Authority (e.g., United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, if the product was shipped to the U.S.).
  3. Verify that the contaminated product is transported and disposed of in an appropriate manner as per the CFIA E. coli O157:H7/NM policy and that all the required records documenting the product's disposition are maintained and kept accessible to the CFIA inspection staff, as prescribed in Chapter 4, Annex O, Section 12.
  4. Contact the Area Program Specialists to discuss results, follow-up sampling, and the need to enhance frequency of M218 at supplying establishments.
  5. Operators must conduct follow up sampling at their own expense at the rates described in Chapter 4, Annex O, and Section 5.5.1. These samples are to be collected under CFIA supervision and tested in an accredited laboratory using a CFIA recognized method. Product must be held when follow up testing is conducted. Accredited labs must report the results to the operator as well as the Food Safety Division, CFIA.

Note: If the same lot is also sampled and tested by operators, the lot cannot be released to commerce on the basis of a negative result obtained under the operator's program if the result obtained under the CFIA program is positive for E. coli O157:H7/NM.

5.3.3.2 E. coli in imported raw ground beef and raw ground veal (M202)

5.3.3.2.1 Introduction

This plan has been designed for imported raw ground beef and raw ground veal. Imported product is subject to the same hazards as domestic product tested under plan M201, as described in section 5.3.3.1.1.

5.3.3.2.2 Sample selection

Each shipment selected through the Import Control and Tracking System (ICTS) for full inspection is eligible for sampling. The total number of shipments to be inspected under this sampling plan is provided to each Area at the beginning of every fiscal year. The specific numbers are assigned to import inspection facilities by the Area Program Specialist. The sampling should be spread evenly through the whole fiscal year.

From a selected shipment, the inspector will randomly select and collect five sub-samples of 200 g each aseptically, using sterile gloves, sterile sample bag, and sanitized equipment (knife, hook, tongs, etc.). The inspector shall advise the operator of the importing facility that a sample has been collected.

For more information on sampling please refer to MOP Chapter 4, Annex O, Policy on the Control of E. coli O157:H7 Contamination in Raw Beef Products.

5.3.3.2.3 Sample submission and testing

Prepare the sample for shipping Generate a Meat Product Inspection Sample Submission Form (CFIA/ACIA 5165) using the Lab Sample Tracking System (LSTS) and submit a copy along with the sample to the CFIA laboratory.

Samples are submitted to the CFIA laboratory indicated by the first letter of the assigned sample ID number, as follows:

B - Burnaby
C - Calgary
D - Dartmouth
H - St. Hyacinthe
O - Ottawa Carling
T - Greater Toronto Area

Addresses and contact information for the laboratories are provided in Annex G.

The sampled product will be tested for generic E. coli, and E. coli O157:H7/NM.

5.3.3.2.4 Follow-up

For samples found positive (unsatisfactory) refer to Chapter 10, annex M for further information.

5.3.3.3 Domestic beef trimmings and chucks intended for use in raw ground beef (M218)

5.3.3.3.1 Introduction

This CFIA verification sampling program has been designed for establishments that produce precursor materials intended for use in finished raw ground beef products, to verify the effectiveness of the operator's control measures for E. coli O157:H7.

5.3.3.3.2 Sample selection

Sample domestic precursor materials (such as trim, boneless beef, coarse ground beef, hearts, head meat, cheek meat, weasand meat, and chucks) intended for use in finished raw ground beef products. Trim and chucks are preferred for sampling under this plan.

Do not sample materials intended for further processing into ready-to-eat products.

Sample only precursor materials produced at the establishment. If the operator commingles materials from different suppliers with ones produced on premises, the sample is to be collected before commingling.

Samples are collected using the N=60 method. Aseptically collect the number of pieces indicated in the table below from each container. The sample is comprised of 60 pieces.

If a specific production lot is composed of more than 5 containers of raw beef trimmings, randomly select 5 containers for sampling.

Number of sample pieces to collect per container
# of containers in a specific production lot # of sample pieces to select from each container
More than 5 (randomly select 5) 12
5 12
4 15
3 20
2 30
1 60

Using a sanitized knife, cut off a thin slice that is approximately 50 cm2 from each of the 60 pieces (e.g. 10 cm x 5 cm x 0.3 cm, or 4" x 2" x"). Collect as much of the beef trimmings' outer surface as possible. The objective is to collect samples from pieces of product taken from the original surface of the beef carcass.

Place the sampled slices into a sterile sample bag. Weigh the sample to ensure that approximately 1 kg (2 pounds) was collected.

5.3.3.3.3 Sample submission and testing

Samples are submitted to the CFIA laboratory indicated by the first letter of the assigned sample ID number, as follows:

B - Burnaby
C - Calgary
D - Dartmouth
H - St. Hyacinthe
O - Ottawa Carling
T - Greater Toronto Area

Addresses and contact information for the laboratories are provided in Annex G.

The laboratory will perform analysis for generic E. coli and E. coli O157:H7.

5.3.3.3.4 Follow-up

When E. coli O157:H7/NM is detected in a sample, the sampled lot is considered contaminated (adulterated) and the following measures must be taken:

  1. Determine whether the establishment held or shipped the contaminated product. If the contaminated product has been shipped outside the federal system, notify the Office of Food Safety and Recall immediately.
  2. If the contaminated product was shipped to another country, notify Meat Programs Division. Meat Programs Division will notify that country's Competent Authority (for example, United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, if the product was shipped to the U.S.).
  3. Verify that the contaminated product is transported and disposed of in an appropriate manner as per the CFIA E. coli O157:H7/NM policy and that all the required records documenting the product's disposition are maintained and kept accessible to the CFIA inspection staff.
  4. Contact the Area program specialist regarding the need to enhance the frequency of sampling.

Note: If the same lot is also sampled and tested by operators, the lot cannot be released to commerce on the basis of a negative result obtained under the operator's program if the result obtained under the CFIA program is positive for E. coli O157:H7/NM.

5.3.3.4 Imported beef trimmings and chucks intended for use in raw ground beef (M219)

5.3.3.4.1 Introduction

This plan has been designed for imported precursor materials (e.g. trims, boneless beef, coarse ground beef, hearts, head meat, cheek meat, weasand meat and chucks) intended for use in finished raw ground beef products.

5.3.3.4.2 Sample selection

Each shipment selected through the Import Control and Tracking System for full inspection shall be eligible for sampling. The specific numbers are assigned to import inspection facilities by the Area Program Specialist. The sampling should be spread evenly through the whole fiscal year.

Each product line on the Import Inspection Report will be considered as a separate lot for this sampling plan.

Selected shipments will be sampled using the N = 60 method, as described in section 5.3.3.3.2 above.

Advise the operator of the import inspection facility that a sample has been collected.

5.3.3.4.3 Sample submission and testing

Samples are submitted to the CFIA laboratory indicated by the first letter of the assigned sample ID number, as follows:

B - Burnaby
C - Calgary
D - Dartmouth
H - St. Hyacinthe
O - Ottawa Carling
T - Greater Toronto Area

Addresses and contact information for the laboratories are provided in Annex G.

The samples will be analyzed for generic E. coli count, and E. coli O157:H7/NM.

5.3.3.4.4 Follow-up

For samples found unsatisfactory, refer to Chapter 10, Annex M, for further information.

5.3.4 Sampling of ready-to-eat product

5.3.4.1 Introduction

Ready-to-eat (RTE) meats are frequently identified as being responsible for outbreaks of foodborne disease, which is primarily caused by recontamination from raw or undercooked products during handling in processing and catering establishments, and in the home kitchen. Direct responsibility of the CFIA is, of course, limited to the first category. Temperature abuse and prolonged exposure of cooked products to moderate or room temperature prior to consumption can lead to a proliferation of bacteria.

RTE products generally receive adequate heat treatment to destroy all pathogens with the exception of their spores, and to reduce saprophytic bacteria. Dry cured products, such as salamis and some hams, which do not receive any heat treatment, are required to be free of pathogens except for unavoidable low loads of Staphylococcus aureus.

Food safety is the responsibility of the operator, who must put in place all the required critical control points (CCP) or the equivalent control procedures to ensure that the product is safe. The inspector of an establishment must assure that quality control measures in the establishment are performed satisfactorily. Deviations in processing methods that may result in unsatisfactory product, such as possible contamination of the processing line or raw materials, insufficient heat exposure during cooking or smoking, improper cooling procedures, or extended storage, should be evaluated by qualified plant personnel.

5.3.4.2 Ready-to-eat products (M200, M203)

5.3.4.2.1 Introduction

RTE products are monitored under two sampling programs, M200 (Domestic RTE Meat Products) and M203 (Imported RTE Meat Products).

5.3.4.2.2 Sample selection

Sampling under M200 will happen concurrently on the same production line, and on the same day, as environmental sampling under M205. (See section 5.3.5.1)

Samples are frequently selected from new product formulations and from lots identified by inspectors in order to verify that processing methods produce a safe product.

Since bacteria are unevenly distributed in meat products, five subsamples of the same production lot are analyzed. For each sample, aseptically collect samples as described in the National Microbiological Sampling Guidelines and Assessment Criteria.

5.3.4.2.3 Sample submission and testing

Samples are submitted to the CFIA laboratory indicated by the first letter of the assigned sample number, as follows:

B - Burnaby
C - Calgary
D - Dartmouth
H - St. Hyacinthe
O - Ottawa Carling
T - Greater Toronto Area

Addresses and contact information for the laboratories are provided in Annex G.

On the form, clearly indicate whether the product is an uncooked dry or semi-dry fermented sausage containing beef.

When entering the sample into LSTS, clearly indicate whether the product is fermented.

The following analyses will be performed: Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes. In addition, E. coli O157:H7/NM analysis will be performed on fermented and dry cured products containing beef.

5.3.4.2.4 Follow-up

For interpretation of test results, see the National Microbiological Sampling Guidelines & Assessment Criteria. Results are assessed as satisfactory, investigative, or unsatisfactory.

In the case of Investigative results, notify the plant management, who should undertake a review of their process and sanitation. This may include conducting additional sampling and testing at their own expense. An action plan should be submitted to the Inspector in Charge within 5 days, unless otherwise specified.

Unsatisfactory indicates that the product is out of compliance. It should be held until it can be brought into compliance, such as by adequate thermal processing. A health risk assessment will be conducted to determine whether a product recall is warranted.

When unsatisfactory or investigative results are encountered, the Inspector-In-Charge or the complex supervisor can contact an Area Program Specialist for guidance with regard to the corrective or follow-up action to be taken.

5.3.4.3 Domestic Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat products - risk-based sampling (M200RB)

5.3.4.3.1 Introduction

This is a targeted, risk-based, domestic RTE product sampling plan, and it is directly linked to risk-based environmental sampling (swabbing) under M205RB. (See section 5.3.5.2)

See also Chapter 4, Annex H, which describes this sampling plan in more detail.

5.3.4.3.2 Sample selection

Sampling under M200RB will happen concurrently on the same production line, and on the same day, as environmental sampling under M205RB

Under this sampling plan, on the day of sampling the inspector will select the highest risk product being produced amongst the various production lines. The frequency of sampling for each Federally Registered Establishment is determined by the Relative Risk Level (RRL) assigned to each Establishment. The RRL is based on the overall risk associated with the production of RTE products (product risk Category, as well as antimicrobial agents/processes and/or post-lethality procedure implemented by the operator) as per MOP Chapter 4 Annex H.

The Area Program Specialist will determine the day on which the product/line will be sampled, and is responsible to ensure sampling occurs evenly throughout the fiscal year.

From the selected lot, the inspector will randomly collect a sample consisting of five sample units, each weighing a minimum of 100 g. The sampling should be spread evenly throughout the fiscal year.

The inspector will give establishment management 24 hours notice about the planned sampling, so that the product represented by the sample may be held pending lab results.

5.3.4.3.3 Sample submission and testing

CFIA/ACIA 5165 Meat Product Inspection Sample Submission Form will be generated using LSTS User services for each sample collected. Include the registration number of the establishment sampled and the risk category of the product sampled. Send a copy of this form together with the sample to the laboratory.

Note: For statistical and modelling needs, it is mandatory that the product category and registered establishment number are clearly and accurately recorded in the appropriate fields of the LSTS submission form.

The product is tested only for the presence of L. monocytogenes.

5.3.4.3.4 Follow-up

The Area Program Specialist and Inspector in Charge should be immediately notified of any unsatisfactory positive result. The Inspector in Charge will notify the operator. Refer to Chapter 4, Annex H.

See Table 1 in the National Microbiological Sampling Plan Guidelines & Assessment Criteria for instructions on the appropriate sampling plans to be used for follow-up samples.

5.3.4.4 Imported - Container Integrity and Commercial Sterility in Canned Meat Products (M206)

5.3.4.4.1 Introduction

This plan has been designed for imported canned meat products.

5.3.4.4.2 Sample selection

A shipment selected through the Import Control and Tracking System for full inspection will be visually inspected using the Visual Inspection Protocol (VIP) described in the manual "Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods In Hermetically Sealed. See also Chapter 10, Annex P-5. The number of shipments to be inspected under this sampling plan is provided for each of the four Areas annually.

5.3.4.4.3 Sample submission and testing

Select ten cans and send them to the laboratory for container integrity and commercial sterility analysis. If any serious defects are observed then the ten cans will be composed of five defective cans and five with no defects.

Only shipments for which major can defects were identified during the visual inspection shall be detained pending laboratory results.

5.3.4.4.4 Follow-up

If major container defects were identified, a minimum of ten subsequent shipments of similar products from the same foreign establishment will be subject to intensified inspection, i.e., shipments will be detained pending the results of visual inspection using the Visual Inspection Protocol, and laboratory analysis.

If any major visual defect is identified on intensified inspection, ten cans (five with defects and five without defects) will be selected and sent to the laboratory for the analysis.

5.3.5 Environment

5.3.5.1 Domestic, Listeria spp. – Environmental, Ready-To-Eat Meat Product Establishments (M205)

5.3.5.1.1 Introduction

This is a random, domestic Food Contact Surface (FCS) environmental sampling plan, and it is directly linked to RTE product sampling under M200. (See section 5.3.4.2, above) (MOP Chapter 4, Annex H). This plan is designed for swabbing the post-lethality processing environment in Federally Registered Establishments producing RTE meat and poultry products, to verify the effectiveness of sanitation and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in preventing contamination of the RTE processing environment and products by Listeria monocytogenes or other Listeria species.

5.3.5.1.2 Sample selection

Take samples under plan M205 on the same production line, and on the same day, as product sampling under plan M200.

Ten different food contact surfaces (FCS) must be sampled. These may include the brine cooling system, casing or wiener peeling equipment (peelers, table tops, hoppers), product conveyors, the device power supply of the slicer, the blade of the slicer, the packing machines, the supports, the carriages, the containers, the balances, and knives. In cases where it is difficult to find 10 RTE FCS sites, a minimum of five contact sites may be evaluated.

Sampling must begin three (3) hours or more after the beginning of the operations. If the time of production is less than three (3) hours, the samples should be taken in the second half of the period. A 900 cm2 surface area should be swabbed wherever possible.

Finished RTE products manufactured the same day are sampled in accordance with the M200 plan. It is strongly recommended to hold the finished products produced between the two full sanitation cycles on the line sampled in accordance with plan M205.

The operator must be given 24 hours notification prior to sampling so that the product represented by the sample may be held.

5.3.5.1.3 Sample submission and testing

On the Food Environmental Sampling Submission Form (CFIA/ACIA 5165), indicate the places which were sampled.

In the laboratories, the samples are pooled, and a composite sample is analysed for Listeria monocytogenes and other Listeria species.

5.3.5.1.4 Follow-up

Positive results must be immediately reported to the Area Program Specialist.

See Chapter 4, Annex H for more detail.

5.3.5.2 Domestic, Listeria spp. – Environmental, Ready-to-eat meat product establishments – Risk-based sampling (M205RB)

5.3.5.2.1 Introduction

This is a targeted, risk-based, domestic Food Contact Surface (FCS) environmental sampling plan, and it is directly linked to risk-based product sampling under M200RB (See 5.3.4.3, above, and MOP Chapter 4, Annex H) . Sampling under M205RB will happen concurrently on the same production line, and on the same day, as product sampling under M200RB. This plan is designed for swabbing the post-lethality processing environment in Federally Registered Establishments producing RTE meat and poultry products, to verify the effectiveness of sanitation and GMPs in preventing contamination of the RTE processing environment and products by Listeria monocytogenes or other Listeria species.

5.3.5.2.2 Sample selection

On the day of sampling, the Inspector in Charge will select the highest risk product being produced amongst the various production lines, and ensure FCS sampling under M205RB is performed concurrently, and on the same production line as sampling under M200RB.

The frequency of sampling for each Federally Registered Establishment is determined by the Relative Risk Level (RRL) assigned to each Establishment. The RRL is based on the overall risk associated with the production of RTE products (product risk Category, as well as antimicrobial agents/processes and/or post-lethality procedure implemented by the operator) as per MOP Chapter 4, Annex H. The Program Specialist should ensure that sampling is spread evenly throughout the fiscal year.

The operator must be given 24 hours notification prior to sampling so that the product represented by the sample may be held. Under this plan, the Inspector in Charge will collect samples only from the sites which are in direct contact with food i.e., with RTE meat products after they have received a lethality treatment.

Ten different FCS sites must be sampled and sampling must begin three hours or more after the beginning of the operations. (In cases where it is difficult to find 10 RTE FCS, a minimum of five contact sites may be evaluated.) If the time of production is less than three hours, the samples should be taken in the second half of the period. A 900 cm2 surface area should be swabbed wherever possible. Record the places sampled on the Food Environmental Sampling Submission Form (CFIA/ACIA 5165). The list of sites to be sampled includes (but is not restricted to): the cooling system of the brine, casing or wiener peeling equipment, peelers, table tops, hoppers, the conveyors of products, the device power supply of the slicer, the blade of the slicer, the side panels of the device of overflow, the packing machines, the supports, the carriages, the containers, the balances, and the knives.

Finished RTE products manufactured the same day are sampled in accordance with plan M200RB.

It is strongly recommended to hold the finished products produced between the two full sanitation cycles on the line sampled in accordance with the plan M205RB.

5.3.5.2.3 Sample submission and testing

In the laboratories, the samples are pooled and a composite sample is analyzed for Listeria monocytogenes and other Listeria species.

5.3.5.2.4 Follow-up

Positive results must be immediately reported to the Area Program Specialists. See Chapter 4, Annex H for more details.

5.3.6 Other

5.3.6.1 Special requests

While some Directed sampling is pre-planned in order to secure laboratory capacity, this type of sampling is only done when visual inspection of the establishment identifies concerns, and is at the discretion of the inspector. When product or environmental sampling is required for follow-up or investigative purposes, the following criteria should be used to determine which sampling plan the sample should be assigned to.

  1. If the follow-up sampling is in response to a positive sample in a routine, pre-planned Monitoring plan, the product lot represented by the follow-up sample is not in distribution, and the lot is under inspectional control, the sample should be placed in the Monitoring plan's corresponding Directed plan. For example, if an M203 sample is positive and the associated lot is detained in a warehouse, and the Meat Program requests further sampling, these samples will be placed in M203D.
  2. If additional tests are required for a sample normally taken under a pre-planned Monitoring plan, i.e. if the requested testing does not fall within the scope of testing as defined in the National Microbiological Sampling Plans and Assessment Criteria document, the sample should be submitted under the Special Request sampling plans: MX200 (domestic samples for microbiological analyses), MX201 (imported samples for microbiological analyses), FS700 (domestic samples for extraneous material analysis), or FS701 (imported samples for extraneous material analysis). This includes sampling in response to contamination or complaints associated with federally registered establishments.
  3. If the sampling is in response to a positive sample in a routine, pre-planned Directed plan, the product lot represented by the follow-up sample is not in distribution, and the lot is under inspectional control, the sample will be placed in the Directed plan. For example if a M209D is positive, but detained in a warehouse, and the Meat Program requests further sampling, these samples will be placed in M209D.
  4. If the sampling is conducted under OFSR-led activities, the sample should be submitted under OFSR206 (domestic samples for microbiological analyses), OFSR207 (imported samples for microbiological analyses), OFSR706 (domestic samples for extraneous material analysis), or OFSR707 (imported samples for extraneous material analysis).
  5. If sampling is required due to any triggers other than those in items a-d, the sample should be submitted under the Special Request sampling plans: MX200 (domestic samples for microbiological analyses), MX201 (imported samples for microbiological analyses), FS700 (domestic samples for extraneous material analysis), or FS701 (imported samples for extraneous material analysis). This includes sampling in response to contamination or complaints associated with federally registered establishments. Contact your Area program specialist before submitting the sample.
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