A pathogenic, diarrhea-producing bacterium that is the leading cause of human foodborne illness among intestinal pathogens. It is commonly found in raw meats, poultry, milk, and eggs, but other foods can carry it. Under 1996 rules published by USDA to control pathogens in meat and poultry, all plants that slaughter food animals and produce raw ground meat products must meet established pathogen reduction performance standards for
salmonella contamination. The standards, which took effect in January 1998, vary by product. Plants where USDA testing indicates contamination rates are above the national standard will be required to take remedial actions.
A specimen that is taken from food and tested for the purpose of identifying a foodborne pathogen or various kinds of chemical contaminants in food.
The act of maintaining a clean condition in a food-handling situation in order to prevent disease and other potentially harmful contaminants.
Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs)
Refers to the sanitation procedures that meat and poultry plants use, both before and during production, to prevent contamination of products. Site-specific SSOPs were required to be implemented in January 1997 by all slaughter and processing plants, under the comprehensive pathogen reduction regulations issued by USDA in July 1996.
Chemical or physical agents that reduce microorganism contamination levels present on inanimate environmental surfaces.
A fatal, degenerative neurological disease of sheep and goats. Belonging to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), scrapie is similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) (mad cow), a disease of cattle. There is no scientific evidence to indicate that scrapie poses a risk to human health. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service conducts a Scrapie Flock Certification Program to certify scrapie-free herds and a Scrapie Eradication Program to accelerate the eradication of scrapie from the United States.
Sectioned and Formed
(or Chunked and Formed) A boneless ham that is made from different cuts, tumbled or massaged and reassembled into a casing or mold and fully cooked. During this process it is usually thoroughly defatted.
Sell By Date
A calendar date on the packaging of a food product that indicates the last day the product can be sold.
A bacterium carried only by humans and causes an estimated 300,000 cases of diarrheal illnesses in the United States per year. Poor hygiene, especially poor hand washing, causes
Shigella to be passed easily from person to person via food. Once it is in food, it multiplies rapidly at room temperature.
Plastic film that shrinks when heated, producing a tight, neat fit; the most popular form of grocery store meat packaging is PVC wrapping with foam trays.
After curing, some hams are smoked. Smoke flavoring (or smoked) is a process by which ham is hung in a smokehouse and allowed to absorb smoke from smoldering fires. This gives added flavor and color to meat and slows the development of rancidity.
Used alone or in conjunction with sodium nitrate as a color fixative in cured meat and poultry products (bologna, hot dogs, bacon). Sodium Nitrate helps prevent the growth of
Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism in humans.
Seasoned and chopped pork trimmings.
A squab is a fledging pigeon, of either sex that has not flown yet. Effective April 26, 2001, establishments processing squabs will be inspected pursuant to the Poultry Products Inspection Act.
Standards of Identity for Food
Mandatory, federally-set requirements that determine what a food product must contain in order to be marketed under a certain name in interstate commerce. Mandatory standards (which differ from voluntary grades and standards applied to agricultural commodities) protect the consumer by ensuring that a label accurately reflects what is inside (for example, that mayonnaise is not an imitation spread, or that ice cream is not a similar, but different, frozen dessert).
State Inspection Program
Often refers to the state-run meat and poultry inspection programs to which USDA contributes 50% of the cost. State programs (about half the states use them) must be certified by USDA to be at least equal to federal inspection requirements. However, products from state-inspected plants (most of them are relatively smaller operations) cannot be sold outside of the state. Small plants and many state officials have endorsed bills in Congress that would permit state-inspected products to be sold into interstate and foreign commerce, but large meat and poultry companies (most of them already under federal inspection) generally oppose such a change.
A technology that uses heat to control or reduce harmful microorganisms in beef. This system passes freshly slaughtered beef carcasses that are already inspected, washed, and trimmed, through a chamber that exposes the beef to pressurized steam for approximately 6 to 8 seconds. The steam raises the surface temperature of the carcasses to 190° to 200° F (88° to 93° C). The carcasses are then cooled with a cold water spray. This process has proven to be successful in reducing pathogenic bacteria, such as
E. coli O157:H7,
Listeria, without the use of any chemicals.
A firms removal or correction of product that has not been marketed or that has not left the direct control of the firm. For example, product is located on premises owned by, or under the control of, the firm, and no portion of the lot has been released for sale or use.
A term that may appear on ham labels if cane or beet sugar is at least half the sweetening ingredients used and if the sugar is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product. Most hams contain sugar in the curing mixture.
A system of monitoring the health of the population, which is used to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks from increasing.
A tool used by epidemiologists to understand the state of health of the population or to identify the source of a foodborne outbreak.