New Improved Analysis Helps Industry Inform FSA’s 10-Day Policy

Using a recently improved ELISA to determine safety of chilled meat with regards to non-proteolytic C.botulinum, QIB Extra have worked with the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to determine if a shelf-life of greater than 10 days can be applied to fresh chilled meat.

The UK Food Standards Agency VP/MAP (Vacuum Packed/Modified Atmosphere Packed) Guidance (FSA, 2017) restricts the shelf-life of VP/MAP foods (including fresh meat) held at 3°C to 8°C to 10 days, unless suitable grounds for a longer shelf-life can be identified.

QIB Extra on behalf of Meat Livestock Australia (MLA) and The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) undertook a project using a risk assessment approach and carried out a challenge test experiment, to establish whether a shelf-life of greater than 10 days can be applied to fresh chilled meat (as it lacks a single known controlling factor).

Our experts at QIB Extra conducted an extensive literature review to collect data on outbreaks of foodborne botulism. Records were retrieved from online databases, then combined with articles held in personal literature collections and references citing eligible articles. The search of the literature failed to uncover any cases of botulism associated with fresh chilled vacuum packed or modified atmosphere packed meat.

In addition fresh meat was challenged with spores of C.botulinum and toxin production monitored throughout product shelf-life using a recently improved ELISA exclusive to QIB Extra.

The project concluded that there is no evidence that currently-applied UK shelf lives, for fresh chilled meat, of greater than 10 days are unsafe. If changes are made to industry practice, then this may need revision.

Using our expert knowledge on Clostridium botulinum and the new ELISA tests to detect botulinum toxin (as sensitive as the gold standard mouse model), QIB Extra were able to help industry inform policy changes in the UK regarding guidelines for chilled fresh meat.
 
You can view the full report here; P-PSH-1033_Final_Report.pdf
 
Do you have a similar project you would like to discuss or require challenge testing on your own products? Contact us now on +44 (0) 1603 255342 or info@qibextra.co.uk
 


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