|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Congressional and Public Affairs
USDA Begins Sampling Program for Advanced Meat Recovery Systems
WASHINGTON, March 3, 2003--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service today announced a regulatory sampling program to ensure beef products derived from Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) systems are accurately labeled.
AMR is a technology that removes muscle tissue from beef carcasses without breaking bones. When produced properly, AMR product can be labeled as "meat." Previously, FSIS inspectors took regulatory samples of AMR product if they believed that an establishment was not completely removing spinal cord tissue. Products labeled as "meat" found to contain spinal cord tissue are considered misbranded under FSIS policy.
FSIS today began a routine regulatory sampling of beef products from AMR systems as outlined in a December directive. FSIS' new sampling program requires inspectors to test beef product from AMR systems on a routine basis to verify that spinal cord tissue is not present. If spinal cord tissue is detected, action will be taken to relabel held product or recall distributed product from commerce. Inspection personnel also will conduct follow-up sampling to verify that the establishment has taken appropriate corrective action. AMR production will not be allowed to resume until FSIS determines that those corrective actions have been successful.
A 2002 survey of 34 establishments producing beef products from AMR systems to determine the frequency that products contained central nervous system tissue, including spinal cord tissue, showed that approximately 35 percent of the final product samples tested positive for central nervous system (spinal cord) and central nervous system-associated tissues.
The survey results provide FSIS with the necessary data to proceed with rulemaking on AMR systems that will include specifications for the removal of central nervous system and associated tissues. FSIS will seek public comment on an existing AMR proposed rule before it is finalized.
More information on AMR systems and FSIS' new sampling program can be accessed online at www.fsis.usda.gov/
NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.
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