If it takes a little longer to get your butcher’s attention on Saturday, he or she might be busy with grinding logs. And if grinding logs are a successful tool, it will be easier to find the source of contaminated beef during outbreaks. The final rule requiring “official establishments and retail stores” that grind raw beef products to maintain grinding logs was issued on Dec. 21, 2015, and officially took effect on June 26. But on Wednesday, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a new notice detailing how the new requirements will be enforced and that begins on Saturday, Oct. 1. Part of the notice was dedicated to “circumstances in which an official establishment is not required to maintain grinding records.” It says an establishment that either processes all ground beef products into ready-to-eat (RTE) products or moves all ground beef products to another official, federally inspected establishment for RTE products is not required to keep grinding logs. Inspection program personnel also do not have to verify establishments that do grinding for not-ready-to-eat ground beef if it is all shipped to another RTE establishment. However, if it is not bound for such an establishment, FSIS will review the required grinding logs. Under the new regulations, retail stores and federal establishments must maintain grinding logs that document:
- The establishment numbers of the businesses supplying the beef for each lot of raw ground beef product;
- All supplier lot numbers and production dates;
- The names of the supplied materials, including beef components and any materials carried over from one production lot to the next;
- The date and time each lot of ground beef was produced; and
- The date and time when grinding equipment and other related food-contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.
Only ground beef is covered by the new grinding log regulations. Activity involving non-intact and mechanically tenderized or needle-injected raw beef is outside the new requirements. Grinding logs must be maintained at the location where the raw beef is ground and must be kept for at least one year. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)