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Cooling & Cold Storage

Cooling and cold storage are essential for producing safe high-quality meat products. Cooked products must be properly cooled to prevent the growth of spore-forming pathogens such as Clostridium perfringens, and raw products must be kept properly refrigerated to minimize growth of the significant microbiological hazards associated with them (Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus for all products, E.coli O157:H7 for beef).

Cooling of Heat-Treated Meat & Poultry

Summary:

The most common time/temperature cooling reference is FSIS Appendix B, for use with heat treated beef and poultry products. This guidance document gives critical limits for cooling of both cured and uncured products to ensure that neither Clostridium perfringens nor Clostridium botulinum spres can germinate and grow.

Paper Reference:

FSIS Appendix B - Click HERE for a copy of the paper.

Alternative cooling guidance from FSIS (USDA) can be found HERE. (see page 9 of the document for alternate cooling requirements)

Slow Cooling of Heat-Treated Products

Summary:

FSIS Directive 7110.3 was developed to clarify the intent of cooling regulations and to offer guidance for cooling of a variety of products. In particular, the directive provides alternative Critical Limits for cooling of large whole-muscle cured meat products.

Paper Reference:

FSIS Directive 7110.3 - Click HERE for a copy of the paper.

Cold Storage

Summary:

The Tompkin paper includes scientific justification for setting a cooler temperature at 44.6ºF or below for safe storage of raw or cooked meat and poultry. It also contains information on how to set critical limits and what to do if there's a deviation.

Paper Reference:

Low-Temperature Critical Limits – Click HERE for a copy of the paper.

Cold Storage – Temperature Abuse of Raw Product

Summary:

The following peer-reviewed research papers support the THERM tool. This tool can be used to support decision-making when raw meat or poultry are exposed to temperatures above the normal refrigeration range. Processors who experience a cooler failure, temper raw product at room temperature, or experience raw-product processing delays under non-refrigerated conditions may be able to use these papers as Supporting Documentation for decision-making.

Paper Reference:

Ingham, S.C., S. Vang, B.Levey, L. Fashey, J.P.Norback, M.A.Fanslau, A.G.Senecal, G.M.Burnham, and B.H.Ingham. 2009. Predicting behavior of Staphylococcus aureus, Slmonella serovars, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in pork products during single and repeated temperature abuse periods. Journal of Food Protection 72: 2114-2124. Click HERE for a copy of the paper.

Ingham, S.C., B.H. Ingham, D. Borneman, E. Jaussaud, E.L. Schoeller, N. Hoftiezer, L. Schwartzburg, G.M. Burnham, and J.P. Norback. 2009. Predicting pathogen growth during short-term temperature abuse of raw sausage. Journal of Food Protection 72(1): 75-84. Click HERE for a copy of the paper.

Ingham, S.C., M.A. Fanslau, G.M. Burnham, B.H. Ingham, J.P. Norback, and D.W. Schaffner. 2007. Predicting pathogen growth during short-term temperature abuse of raw pork, beef, and poultry products: use of an isothermal-based predictive tool. Journal of Food Protection 70(6): 1445-1456. Click HERE for a copy of the paper.

Critical Limit Summary:

Temperature Abuse Critical Limit Summary

Cold Storage – Temperature Abuse Of Cooked Cured Product

Summary:

Commercial processing often involves exposure of cooked cured meat or poultry to non-refrigerated conditions for short periods of time while it is cut into portions for cooking by the end-user. Therefore, product temperature or room temperature will likely be designated as a CCP. See the Paper Reference and Critical Limit Summary (based on an in-house study).

Paper Reference:

Ingham, S.C. 2007. Laboratory-based evidence supporting simple critical limits for use with cured meat and poultry products in the “Heat treated but not fully cooked, not shelf-stable” HACCP category. Click HERE for a copy of the paper.

Critical Limit Summary:

Processing Precooked Cured Meats Intended for Recooking by Consumers Critical Limit Summary