In March, FSIS announced a proposed rule that in the words of FSIS would “consolidate and streamline existing regulations in meat and poultry products.”
Five Things to Know About The FSIS Draft Compliance Guideline for the Prevention and Control of Trichinella and other Parasitic Hazards in Pork and Products Containing Pork
In March, FSIS announced a proposed rule that in the words of FSIS would “consolidate and streamline existing regulations in meat and poultry products.” The title is Draft Compliance Guideline for the Prevention and Control of Trichinella and other Parasitic Hazards in Pork and Products Containing Pork. Although this is just a proposal, here are five things prudent FSIS establishments need to know:
1. The Federal meat inspection regulations will be changed to eliminate the requirements that pork products be treated to destroy Trichina. All establishments producing pork products will have to determine whether Trichinella is a hazard reasonably likely to occur (RLTO) in their processes. If so, they will need to address this hazard in their HACCP system.
2. When an establishment determines that a hazard, such as Trichinella, is not reasonably likely to occur (NRLTO) because the prerequisite program prevents the hazard, then that prerequisite program becomes part of the HACCP system and thus must be validated.
3. The Options used to Prevent and Control Trichinella in Pork and Products Containing Pork are:
· Acquire pork products from carcasses or carcass parts found to be free of Trichinella by a validated testing method
· Obtain pork products from swine producers who participate in the Trichinae Certification Program or a negligible risk compartment for Trichinella
· Label NRTE pork products, including all forms of fresh pork requiring additional treatment by the consumer and validate cooking instructions
· Treat NRTE pork products for the destruction of Trichinella that might be eaten rare or without thorough cooking because of the appearance of the finished product
4. If Trichinella has been determined to be reasonably likely to occur (RLTO), then the establishment may elect to use one of the following treatment methods to destroy the parasite in its pork products and products containing pork: 1) heating, 2) freezing, 3) curing, 4) high pressure processing (HPP), and 5) irradiation. The Draft Compliance Guidance outlines parameters when using any of these measures to destroy Trichinella.
5. Establishments must assess in their hazard analysis if other parasitic hazards are reasonably likely to occur (RLTO). The parasite discussed at some length in the document is Toxoplasma gondii; a protozoan parasite. Compliance with the HACCP regulations for RTE products will ensure the destruction of Toxoplasma. The document spells out that Toxoplasma is the second leading cause of death (not hospitalizations or illnesses in and of itself) because of foodborne illnesses in the United States, accounting for an estimated 327 deaths annually; thus, the reason for the agency’s concern.
As stated above, this compliance guidance document is a draft and is a proposed rule open for public comment.