These Services Remain Vital as Recent Events Have Shown
Meat testing laboratories remain a necessary component for not only getting food products into the market but also compliance with state and national consumer health regulations. And you don’t have to look hard or extensively to find evidence as to why.
In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a food safety alert related to a Salmonella outbreak linked to Italian-style meats. The outbreak led to a product recall after nearly 40 illnesses — and 12 hospitalizations — surfaced in 17 different states. Another outbreak, this time involving Listeria and deli meats, occurred in early 2021 and resulted in 12 cases (and one death) in Florida, Louisiana, New York, and Massachusetts.
Such outbreaks inflict terrible damage and hardship to those affected. Also, these kinds of outbreaks are immensely costly to food manufacturers. According to a joint study by the Food Marketing Institute and the Consumer Brands Association, the average cost of a recall for a food company is around $10 million once you account for direct costs, brand damage, lost sales, setting up a response team, related press activities, and more.
Food safety recalls have been trending upward in recent years as well. While the number declined in 2020, mostly due to impacts and restrictions imposed by the ongoing global pandemic, that drop was an anomaly. In 2019, for instance, there were 337 food safety recalls announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS).
Clearly, proper food safety testing remains an essential consideration for any food-producing company. Therefore, partnering with trusted meat testing laboratories should be part of any production plan.
Get a full review of everything we do. Read here for more information on all the laboratory testing services Barrow-Agee offers.
Meat Testing Laboratories Find Common Threats
One factor that might indicate livestock are not fit for human consumption is the presence of certain pathogens during meat analysis that are known to cause illness, such as the kinds present in the outbreaks described above. However, each kind of livestock (and meat product) is susceptible to different, unique combinations of pathogens.
Let’s take a quick look at four of the most common pathogens that meat testing laboratories will be able to identify.
Salmonella spp. — This bacteria is the one most commonly associated with the colloquial term ‘food poisoning;’ it causes gastrointestinal distress in humans and is commonly found across all ‘meat’ categories, including poultry, beef, seafood, and pork.
Staphylococcus aureus — This bacteria is present on up to a quarter of all healthy people and animals, on their skin and inside their noses. However, it can multiply and produce harmful toxins when it contaminates food products. It’s commonly found in beef, pork, and poultry.
E. coli — This is also common in healthy animals, but certain strains can cause serious illness. It, too, is common in beef, poultry, and pork.
Listeria monocytogenes — Highly resilient and relatively common, this bacteria causes foodborne illness. It’s usually found in beef, chicken, and seafood.
Microbiology testing from meat testing laboratories ensures those food products are safe by looking for the presence of pathogens throughout all stages of the supply chain. This includes testing the raw materials and ingredients found in animal feed, as well as analyzing raw meat after slaughter. It also includes swab samples from feeding and processing equipment. Detecting pathogens at any of these stages can help prevent costly and damaging recalls and safety issues before the food products reach the market.
We cover fruits and vegetables too. Read more here about how Barrow-Agee’s testing services also ensure safety among produce.
Barrow-Agee is a Trusted Meat Testing Laboratory Partner
Barrow-Agee Laboratories is a food testing services provider for numerous industries that brings efficiency and accuracy to a broad range of tests for its clients. With extensive experience in food and feed safety testing, Barrow-Agee’s capability to deliver trusted results is proven and certified.
Barrow-Agee Laboratories has completed the USDA AMS Laboratory Approval Program for Export of Meat and Poultry Products and participates in a variety of proficiency testing programs to keep our teams and processes up-to-date with current standards and requirements. Learn more about our certifications, accreditations, and other approvals here.
Barrow-Agee can help you through the sampling and testing process. To get started, download the sample submission form and follow the attached guidelines. This will get you set up with a personalized service plan from our labs, which offer everything from full-service support to backup and emergency testing. At Barrow-Agee Laboratories, our team of experts will work quickly and efficiently to make sure your samples are tested and the results sent back to you within the stated turnaround time. We’ll help you maintain operations and make the most of your production process.