The USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a notice last week that gives its inspection personnel specific instructions on how to randomly select the beef trimmings to be tested under the MT50 project code, which includes E. coli testing in trim.

The notice instructs inspectors to collect samples from all types of trim if a plant is producing multiple types. Previously, inspectors were only requited to collect samples for one type of trim, as the FSIS notice explains.

The notice also has instructions for sampling ammoniated beef. 

“Product that is intended for exposure to the anhydrous ammonia antimicrobial treatment (to be ammoniated) is subject to FSIS sampling at the slaughter establishment before it is sent elsewhere to be ammoniated.”

Inspectors “are not to combine samples from two piece chucks with source materials designated for anhydrous ammonia treatment. The intent is that, through random selection, all products that fall under the beef manufacturing trim sampling program will likely be selected over time.”

FSIS samples beef manufacturing trimmings at the slaughter establishment. Inspectors then submit information on the type of trim collected through the Public Health Information System. 

“Some establishments may transfer trim to another establishment that is in the same building as the slaughter establishment or is separated from the slaughter facility by only a wall,” continued FSIS. Inspectors are “to sample this trim at the slaughter establishment, just as if an establishment would send this product to a more distant location.”

Under the notice, Beef Products Inc, the largest producers of ammoniated beef — which has been under intense public scrutiny lately — would be subject to trim sampling.