Continuing in the advice vein, the European Food Safety Authority is trying to balance safety and quality when transporting meat.
EFSA had previously advised on the implications for meat safety if two parameters – time and temperature – varied and provided several scenarios for ensuring safety of meat during storage and transport of meat. The Commission subsequently asked EFSA to consider what implications such scenarios would have for the growth of bacteria that cause meat to spoil.
“If the sole consideration was safety, policy makers would have more options on the table to pick from. However, scenarios that are acceptable in terms of safety may not be acceptable in terms of quality,” said Dr. Marta Hugas, Head of EFSA’s Biological Hazards and Contaminants unit.
Current legislation requires that carcasses are chilled to no more than 7C and that this temperature is maintained until mincing. The European Commission wants to revise this legislation to provide industry with more flexibility and asked EFSA’s scientific advice on safety and quality aspects.
Experts also said that effective hygienic measures during slaughter and processing help control contamination with spoilage bacteria.
CBC News reports that Manitoba health authorities are investigating after photos of pig carcasses which appear to have been improperly handled during deliveries to two Winnipeg businesses surfaced on social media.
“The first thing that popped out from the pictures in my mind was that the meat, the quarter and half sections of pork, had been thrown on the floor of the truck,” said Rick Holley, a University of Manitoba food safety expert. “You can see there are some non-meat items which are also on the floor of the truck.”
The photos were posted to a public Facebook page and obtained by CBC news. They show two trucks delivering half and quarter pork carcasses to businesses at 303 King Street in Chinatown.
The owner of a butcher shop in the building declined an interview, but told CBC News he recognized the long-haired employee in the photos and said he works for one of their suppliers, a Portage la Prairie abattoir.
A few weeks ago, state agriculture inspectors forced a trucker to toss 2,000 pounds of food in the garbage after finding the cargo had not been kept at safe temperatures.
Federal rules specify meat and dairy products be trucked at less than 40 degrees. The trucker stopped May 28 near New Castle was carrying a cargo — including meat — at 63 degrees, agriculture department spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said.
He already had delivered to seven restaurants in eastern Ohio and was headed to six more in the Sharon and New Castle areas, Krepps said.
Pennsylvania officials notified their Ohio counterparts, who forced the restaurants there to discard the food, said Lydia Johnson, director of the agriculture department’s bureau of food safety.
The incident, regulators fear, reflects a larger problem, as rising fuel prices create an incentive for shippers to cheat on food safety.
For the past year, state police and agriculture inspectors have been stepping up checks of refrigerated trucks.
Trucks handle 80 to 90 percent of food consumed in the United States, but state police Col. Frank Noonan said relatively little attention has been paid to monitoring the safety of food in transit.