Annex P-1: Inspection Procedures for Fresh Meat Other Than Poultry - Sampling Inspection Procedures and Disposition for Fresh Meat Other Than Poultry Meat Packed in Boxes or Combos

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1. Scope

This section covers the inspection procedures for beef, veal, pork, lamb, sheep, goat, venison, ratite birds and their respective cuts, frozen or chilled, packed in cartons, combos or pre-packaged. The procedure can be considered complete when combined with Annex O and Annex P.

1.1 Definitions

Fresh: In respect of a meat product ingredient, not cooked or preserved. Reference taken from Schedule 1 of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.

Pre-packaged: In respect of an edible meat product, packaged in a container in the manner in which it is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by a consumer without being repackaged.

2. Sampling Plans

The inspector shall select the required sample units using the sampling plan for the product examination found on the Import Inspection Report (IIR). If this plan is found to be inappropriate or a copy of the IIR is not available, the sampling plan must be elaborated manually by the inspector. The inspector will find the appropriate sampling plans in Chapter 4 of the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures (MOP). The instructions for drawing of random sample units are in Annex H-2 of this chapter (available for CFIA personnel use only).

3. Preparation of Products for Organoleptic Inspection

In addition to the sample unit selection and handling procedures specified in Annex P the following procedures apply for this product category.

Sample units shall be selected from the staged lot following the cursory/visual inspection of the lot regardless of the results of the cursory/visual inspection (continue onto organoleptic inspection before refusing).

The selected sample units of frozen products must be presented for organoleptic inspection in the following physical state:

  1. In the case of bone in cuts such as frozen lamb legs, frozen lamb racks and frozen pork hams, the sample units should be tempered. However, they may be inspected in the frozen condition provided that all surfaces can be visually inspected for presence of defects and the cuts can be separated from each other. Immediate packaging may have to be removed to allow organoleptic inspection when packaging materials obscure product surfaces.
  2. In the case of large frozen boneless cuts such as beef clods, boneless pork shoulders, etc., the cuts must be tempered prior to inspection to separate them. Immediate packaging may have to be removed to allow organoleptic inspection when packaging materials obscure product surfaces.
  3. Frozen boneless meat other than described in ii. above must be completely thawed in its entirety prior to inspection.
  4. Frozen carcasses, quarters, etc. must be tempered prior to full organoleptic inspection.

For details of acceptable defrosting and tempering methods refer to Annex P of this chapter.

3.1 Selection of Sub-Samples for Organoleptic Inspection

For meat products in cartons, the sub-sample required is approximately 1/3 (one third) of the sample unit. The establishment shall remove sufficient random sub-sample units as determined by the inspector from their shipping containers and present the sub-sample units on tables for inspection.

For meat products in combos, a sub-sample of approximately 9 kg should be drawn from different levels of a combo (for example: top, middle or bottom). Refer to Annex H-2 (available for CFIA personnel use only).

For air defrosted sample units, the establishment shall remove the meat product from the shipping container and place the block along with the protective plastic liner onto the examination table.

The sub-sample units shall be displayed on the examination tables in such a manner that they retain their sample unit number identity.

4. Inspection Procedures

During the product examination, the inspector shall verify the accuracy of a label claim for a particular cut of meat. Correlation of the sub-sample unit meat product name, the label of the shipping container and the product description on the Official Meat Import Certificate (OMIC) is to be established. Prepackaged meat products intended for retail sale must be labelled with all mandatory labelling information and the label registration number shall be recorded with the product description on the IIR.

Stamping and/or labelling of individual cuts must be verified. For further information on the labelling requirements refer to Annex E of this chapter and Chapter 7 of the MOP. In the case of boneless manufacturing beef, other than that certified and shipped as unmarked under seal, or shipped in tamper evident sealed containers, at least one legible stamp is required to be present on top of the block of boneless meat.

"Long Life Chilled Meat Cuts" are individually packaged in sealed vacuum packaged bags and may be fully marked and/or labelled. These packaged cuts are then placed inside another impermeable bag filled with carbon dioxide or other gases to prolong the shelf life. Rigidity of the outer bag is maintained by a layer of cardboard carton between it and the sealed vacuum packaged cuts within. The outer bag bears no label, but is placed inside a fully marked cardboard box. As a result of the cardboard layer between the outer bag and sealed vacuum packaged cuts within, the outer bags of the sample have to be opened to examine the cuts. Some of the sealed vacuum packaged bags may also have to be opened should the appropriate inspection not be possible without it and/or the inspector decides it is necessary. The shelf life of the cuts, after the outer bag is open, is about five days. Since the shelf keeping capacity of the meat product depends on the integrity of the outer bag and on continuous maintenance of product temperature of 1.5°C (+ 0.5°C), signs of deficiency in these two parameters should be viewed with suspicion. Loss of integrity of the outer bag will lead to brown discolouration of the meat and the loss of temperature control will result in characteristically unpleasant odour.

Traditional sealed vacuum packaged bags may also have to be opened should the appropriate inspection not be possible and/or the inspector deems it necessary.

The inspector shall thoroughly examine all sub-sample units for defects as defined in Chapter 4 of the MOP. The identified defects shall be classified as Minor, Major or Critical and shall be recorded on the import worksheet found in Annex S of this chapter (available for CFIA personnel use only). Veterinary advice must be sought with respect to defects which cannot be named or have not been encountered previously.

5. Decision Criteria

To determine acceptability or rejection of the lot, the inspector shall follow the Defect Criteria acceptability/rejection instructions on the IIR or apply the appropriate decision criteria as provided in Sampling plan and decision criteria, Chapter 4 of the MOP.

The presence of a critical defect observed in any sub-sample unit will result in the refusal of the lot.

If, upon completing the primary inspection (Step A, Sampling plan and decision criteria, Chapter 4 of the MOP), the shipment can be clearly accepted or rejected, no further sampling or inspection is required. If the number of major defects or the total number of defects (minor alone or combination of major and minor) falls between the acceptable and rejection numbers, a secondary sampling and inspection as per step B is to be conducted. The defects found are added to those found at Step A and the total numbers are then used to accept or reject the shipment.

Note: Total defects are only used if the rejection level for major defects has not been exceeded.

All pieces of sub-samples with defects, originating from a refused lot should be placed in separate clean containers, be marked to identify them with the sampling unit, the lot they came from, and the IIR control number. These pieces of evidence should be stored appropriately, refrigerated or frozen, under the Inspector's control for at least five working days from the date of inspection and may be destroyed or ordered out of the country with the rejected lot. See Annex J of this chapter for procedures for handling of rejected imported lots.

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