March 01, 2007

Hide the salami

An email from the NZ Food Safety Authority arrived at lunchtime:
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is looking to develop a New Zealand standard for producing Uncooked Comminuted Fermented Meats (UCFM), such as salami.
The move comes after NZFSA identified a number of instances where butchers and processors were unaware of essential manufacturing procedures that ensure the microbial safety of UCFM products.
UCFM products primarily contain beef and pork meat, salt, nitrite, glucose, spices, seasonings and ideally a starter culture (to assist fermentation).
The ingredients are mixed and comminuted (reduced in size) to produce a batter. The mixture is then stuffed into a casing, fermented and dried (and sometimes smoked) to create the end product.
If the fermentation, maturation and drying steps are not undertaken correctly, there are risks of contamination with harmful microbial pathogens.
NZFSA recently assessed existing data and information on the way UCFM products are made and whether procedures adequately controlled microbial pathogens, in particular shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC).
STEC can be found in raw meat used in UCFM product – although in New Zealand these STEC levels are generally low. The assessment showed that, in a small number of butcher and processor premises, the control levels may be insufficient.
Forgive me for barfing up my lunch after reading that. They know I prefer my meat live, erect, red and throbbing.

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