Statistics-based sampling approved for trimmings
ensure meat trimmings have the required legal minimum amount of
lean tissue present.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced yesterday it was changing the rules as a means to help processors reduce costs. The FSIS notice informs its inspectors that processors and other establishments may meet the minimum 12 per cent lean tissue standard by using statistically-based sampling and analytical methods. Processors were previously required to inspect each piece of trim for the requisite lean tissue content either manually or using expensive analysis equipment. Trimmings are off-cuts of skeletal muscle and other parts that can be used to make ground meat used for burgers, and other processed foods. They typically have a low value and so easing inspection costs will assist processors. The standard ensures a minimum lean content for trimmings used in processed products labeled 'meat'. If meat falls below the 12 per cent standard it is classified as 'fat with visible lean' or 'fat' and is subsequently worth considerably less than trimmings. The announcement covers meat from cattle, sheep, swine, and goats. The FSIS defines trimmings as cuts from skeletal meat or that found in the tongue, diaphragm, heart, or esophagus, with or without the accompanying and overlying fat. Portions of bone, skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels that normally accompany the muscle tissue and that are not separated from it in the process of dressing can also form part of trimmings. Meat trimmings do not include the muscle found in the lips, snout, or ears and that containing significant portions of bone, bone-related components. Bone marrow, any amount of brain, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglia are also excluded.