The 75 meat processing industry personnel from 40 companies who gathered in Chicago, Ill., on Sept. 25, for the North American Meat Processors Association’s E. coli control conference gave NAMP high marks for its leadership on helping the industry reduce this pathogen. Attendees at the “Prevention of E. coli O157:H7 for Beef Further Processors Conference” complimented NAMP on the quality of the program content, the speakers, and for arranging for Dr. Dan Engeljohn, one of the most influential people on USDA-FSIS regulations on E. coli, to speak to the industry.
“The conference — a major part of NAMP’s new Education Program Initiative — was a timely and much-valued service to our members and the industry,” said Phil Kimball, CAE, NAMP’s Executive Director.
Nine different speakers, including NAMP’s science advisors, Dr. Jim Marsden and Dr. Harshvardhan ‘Reddi’ Thippareddi, and Engeljohn, Assistant Deputy Administrator for the Office of Policy and Program Development, USDA-FSIS, presented information on topics related to controlling E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef and other non-intact products. The speakers acknowledged that, while great strides have been made in controlling E. coli O157:H7, recent data on illnesses, recalls, and test results show that more progress is still needed.
Angie Siemans of Cargill Meat Solutions, Chris Carver of Standard Meat Company and Engeljohn talked about the importance of purchase specifications as a further processor’s first line of defense against E. coli O157:H7.
Dr. Chance Brooks of Texas Tech University, along with Marsden and Dr. Nahed Katrola of Ecolab, discussed the effectiveness of several intervention technologies as part of a multi-hurdle approach to the problem.
Tim Biela of American Fresh Foods and American Foodservice, Dr. Kerri Harris of the International HACCP Alliance, as well as Thippareddi and Engeljohn, spoke on the benefits, limitations, and methodologies for testing.
Harris also cautioned that proper lotting is imperative in order to avoid recalls.