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Start Date for Ground Beef Regulations Announced 

The Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced that they will begin enforcing the new ground beef recordkeeping requirements on October 1, 2016. The initial enforcement period was set to begin in June, but an effort by the National Grocers Association to give retailers more time to prepare was successful. Below is more information on the recordkeeping rules and how you can stay compliant.
 
Retailers that grind raw beef will have to adhere to new recordkeeping regulations designed to reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses. In July of 2014, the Food Safety and Inspection Service – an Agency of the Department of Agriculture – proposed a new rule that would require establishments to record specific information about their beef grinds. After hearing comments and feedback on the proposal, FSIS issued its final ruling on December 21, 2015.
 
In an effort to identify the source of foodborne illnesses that can be found in ground beef, such as E. Coli and salmonella, and curb their spread, FSIS is now requiring any retailer that grinds their own beef to record the following information for each grind:

• Establishment numbers of establishments supplying material used to prepare each lot of raw ground beef product.
• All supplier lot numbers and production dates.
• Names of the supplied materials including beef components and any materials carried over from production lot to the next.
• Date and time each lot of ground beef product is produced.
• Date and time when grinding equipment and other related food-contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.

These records must be kept for one year at the location in which the ground beef is prepared.
 
The agency scrapped two requirements from its original proposal after they were deemed too onerous for the retailer without having a significant benefit. In the initial proposal, retailers would have to record the weight of each grind component and also the name, phone number, and point of contact for each source establishment. This was thrown out for being too time consuming, and also redundant since the Department of Agriculture already has this information for ground beef suppliers.
 
The second rule change amended where the records would be kept. Initially these records would be required to be kept at a company's headquarters, but the final ruling states that the records are to be held at the place of each grind in order to save time and reduce risk of documents getting lost.
 
FMS has created a sample log based on all the requirements outlined in the Food Safety and Inspection Service's final ruling. To view the log and print it at home, click here.