Annex P-6: Inspection Procedures for Prepared Meat Products

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1. Scope

This procedure applies to prepared meat products composed of beef, veal, chicken, pork, lamb, sheep, goat and their combinations, either pre-packaged or bulk packaged, other than meat products described in Annex P-5 of this chapter.

1.1 Interpretation

"Prepared" means in respect of an edible meat product, a meat product that has been cooked or dehydrated or to which has been added any substance other than meat, a meat by-product or mechanically separated meat.

2. Sampling Plans

The inspector shall select the required sample units using the sampling plan for the product examination found on the Import Inspection Report (IIR). If this plan has been found to be inappropriate for the type of product, determine the lot size then calculate the square root of the quantity shipped (e.g. cartons, combos, etc.) this is the number of sample units to be inspected. The inspector shall randomly select the sample units using internet based random numbers program or random numbers table as described in section 2.2 of Annex H-2 of this chapter (available for CFIA personnel use only).

In choosing the required sample unit number from the lot, the inspector must make every effort to ensure that the sample is as representative as possible giving proper consideration to code and other identifying marks.

When an inspected product contains more than one production batch code, the square root from each production batch code must be examined.

3. Preparation of Products for Inspection

Samples shall be selected from the staged lot following the cursory/visual inspection of the lot regardless of the results of the cursory this inspection.

In addition to the sample unit selection and handling procedures specified in Annex P the following procedures apply for this product category. Once the sample for inspection has been selected, it should be presented for inspection as follows:

  1. chilled and frozen cooked meat products shall be handled in a sanitary manner so as to preclude contamination of any product;
  2. equipment (tables, saws, scales, shelving units, wash basins, etc.) will be cleaned and sanitized before use on each lot;
  3. the establishment shall relocate the sample units selected for presentation from the staging area to a designated room;
  4. the establishment shall remove sufficient random sub-sample units as determined by the inspector from their shipping containers and present the sub-sample units on tables for inspection;
  5. the sub-sample units shall be displayed on the examination tables in such a manner that they retain their sample carton number identity; and,
  6. if defrosting in water the defrosting tank shall be drained and sanitized before it is used to thaw frozen cooked meat.

3.1 Non Shelf Stable Cooked Meat Products

3.1.1 Consumer Packaged Products

In the case of consumer packaged items in a shipping container such as TV dinners, soup mixes, poultry entrees, etc., these should be removed from the shipping cartons when presented for inspection, so that the individual packages can be properly examined. A sub sample representing 10% of the number of consumer packaged units is to be examined.

3.1.2 Bulk Packed Diced Boneless Meats

In the case of chilled or frozen diced boneless meats, the product in its immediate packaging should be removed from the shipping cartons when presented for inspection, so that the contents of the packages may be inspected in their present physical state (refrigerated or frozen).

A sample unit of frozen diced cooked meat product in its immediate packaging should be removed from the shipping cartons when presented for inspection, so that a preliminary inspection of the frozen contents of the packages may be performed. A sub-sample representing 10% of the volume of the sample unit is to be defrosted completely in a white tray so that any exudates from the meat product may be examined.

3.1.3 Frozen Cooked Concentrated Soups

The meat product is to be inspected in the frozen state. The product is to be examined to determine if storage instructions are being maintained.

3.2 Shelf Stable Dry Cured or Fermented Meat Products

3.2.1 Prosciutto, Parma Hams, Serrano Hams, Sausages

These products are to be examined in their immediate containers if the packaging material permits observation of product surfaces. Refer to elements identified in section 3 of this annex.

4. Inspection Procedures

Imported meat products must meet the standards and labelling requirements equivalent to meat products produced in Canada except as described in Section 123 of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990. In addition, the following procedures should be followed:

  1. the inspector shall verify the accuracy of a label claim for a particular meat product. For consumer packaged products a correlation of the sub-sample unit meat product name, the label of the shipping container and the product description on the Official Meat Inspection Certificate (OMIC) is to be established. A label registration number is required on the OMIC of all prepared meat products;
  2. the inspector shall verify that the product has been handled in accordance with the storage instructions;
  3. all defects found in a rejected lot, their respective parts, and the sample unit from which they where found, shall be saved in case of the need for verification. Defects shall be identified with the IIR control number, lot number and sample unit number, from which they were found;
  4. all defects found in an accepted lot of inspected product shall be handled as inedible meat products;
  5. sample units found free of defects upon inspection shall be returned to the lot. Sample units received in the frozen state are to be returned to their original shipping cartons for immediate blast freezing; and,
  6. the inspector must refer to Annex M and to the Area Microbiology and Compositional/Additives sampling plans to determine if it is necessary to take samples for laboratory analysis.

4.1 Non Shelf Stable Prepared Meat Products

4.1.1 Consumer Packaged Products

Chilled or frozen entree style dinners, should be checked to ensure that appropriate handling has occurred during transport within the range of the storage instructions and integrity of packages. Integrity of packaging means lack of physical damage that could cause direct exposure of the meat products to environmental contamination. These meat products will not be removed from their immediate packaging unless there is suspicion the product is unwholesome.

4.1.2 Bulk Packed Diced Meats

Bulk packed diced meats should be examined to ensure that:

  • mandatory information on the shipping container label correlates with the packaged meat product and the certificate;
  • the product does not contain any bones or extraneous material;
  • the product appears wholesome without sour or off odors; and,
  • exudates from the thawed product indicates the product is cooked (no pink juices) for fully cooked products.

4.2 Shelf Stable Dry Cured or Fermented Meat Products

4.2.1 Prosciutto, Parma Hams, Serrano Hams, Sausages

Perform a visual inspection of the outer surfaces.

Observe for contamination, dirt, wood insects, slime, off condition. The presence of mold on this type of product may be a result of the process. If observed, the Area Program Specialist-Microbiology should be contacted.

Smell the outer surface for any sign of off odour.

For bone-in products such as Prosciutto, Parma Hams, Serrano Hams and after the outer surface inspection, inspect for possible under-curing or off condition by using the following method:

  • For suspected under-curing, place a knife into the area of the aitch bone and into the area of the stifle joint. After each insertion of the knife, quickly and carefully remove the knife from the ham and very carefully smell the knife for off odour.

5. Disposition / Decision Criteria

5.1 Non Shelf Stable Prepared Meat Products

5.1.1 Consumer Packaged Products and Bulk Packed Diced Meats

Inspectors must make a judgment based on their findings during inspection and the types and numbers of defects found must be assessed for their significance.

The square root sample selected is intended to be representative of the shipment as a whole, and it must be assumed that defects found in the sample units will occur in the same proportion in the remainder of the shipment.

In those cases where the inspector is undecided as to what his judgment should be, he should select a further sample for inspection and, if necessary, contact his supervisor for assistance in reaching a decision.

The reconditioning of unsatisfactory product is not permitted.

When the meat sample has been judged unsatisfactory and rejected, all shipping containers of the sample units must be clearly identified (e.g. mark, code, etc.) in such a way as to permit locating the same samples in case of the need for verification

Refer to Annex J for procedures for handling of refused imported lots.

5.2 Shelf Stable Dry Cured or Fermented Meat Products

Same as section 5.1.1 of the present annex.

For Prosciutto, Parma Hams, Serrano Hams if any off condition or sour odour is detected, hold the product and notify the supervisor.

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