BMPA to challenge safety food regulation based on a new study
British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have recently offered the initial findings of a study regarding food safety for fresh, chilled meat Vacuum Packed (VP) or Modified Atmosphere Packed (MAP).
Currently, the UK Food Standards Agency VP/MAP (Vacuum Packed/Modified Atmosphere Packed) Guidance 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.
"This project has used 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). A search of the literature failed to uncover any cases of botulism associated with fresh chilled VP or MAP meat", explained BMPA in a press release.
At this moment, industry applies a maximum chilled retail pack shelf life at 3°C to 8°C of up to 23 days for beef, 27 days for lamb, and 18 days for pork, according to data collected by BMPA.
"A new challenge test study demonstrated that samples of beef and lamb inoculated with spores of non-proteolytic C. botulinum and incubated at 8°C, did not become toxic to day 50 for beef, day 35 for lamb, or day 25 for pork (i.e. <40 pg type B toxin g-1 of meat and <40 pg type E toxin g-1 of meat)", according to the scientists involved in the study.
"The ability not to be constrained by a 10-day shelf-life, as indicated in present FSA (2017) guidelines, and the freedom to adopt a shelf-life greater than 10 days at 3°C to 8°C for fresh chilled beef, lamb and pork is of significant economic/social/sustainability benefits to producers/processors/retailers. Such freedom removes a technical barrier to trade. There may also be environmental/consumer benefits through lower food wastage", said BMPA, hoping to challenge those regulations in the near future.