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Recordkeeping Practices of Beef Grinding Activities at Retail Establishments

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Ground beef has been implicated as a transmission vehicle in foodborne outbreaks of infection with pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. During outbreak investigations, traceback of contaminated beef to the producing facility is often unsuccessful because of inadequate recordkeeping at retail establishments that grind beef products. We conducted a survey in three states participating in the Environmental Health Specialists Network to describe beef grinding and recordkeeping practices at retail establishments. In each establishment that maintained grinding logs, three randomly selected records were reviewed to determine whether important data elements for traceback investigations were recorded. One hundred twenty-five stores were surveyed, of which 60 (49%) kept grinding logs, including 54 (74%) of 73 chain stores and 6 (12%) of 51 independent stores. One hundred seventy-six grinding records from 61 stores were reviewed. Seventy-three percent of the records included the establishment code of the source beef, 72% included the grind date and time, and 59% included the lot number of the source beef. Seventy-five percent of records noted whether trimmings were included in grinds, and 57% documented cleanup activities. Only 39 (22%) records had all of these variables completed. Of stores that did not keep grinding logs, 40% were unaware of their purpose. To facilitate effective and efficient traceback investigations by regulatory agencies, retail establishments should maintain records more detailed and complete of all grinding activities.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road N.E., M/S D63, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA. 2: Foodborne Disease Investigations Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, DC 20250, USA 3: Minnesota Department of Health, 85 7th Place E., No. 220, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101, USA 4: California Emerging Infections Program, 360 22nd Street, Suite 750, Oakland, California 94612, USA 5: Nashville–Davidson County Metro Public Health Department, 1 Public Square, No. 106, Nashville, Tennessee 37201, USA 6: Microbiological Issues Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Aerospace Center, Room 344, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, DC 20250, USA 7: Environmental Health Services Branch, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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