Novel Continuous and Manual Sampling Methods for Beef Trim Microbiological Testing

Food, Food Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Food Testing, Food Safety & Regulation,
  • Friday, November 30, 2018

A new beef trim sampling concept has been developed through a joint R&D project with USDA Agricultural Research Service, Fremonta, and Sentry Equipment. The methods developed from this effort have received a USDA Letter of No Objection.

Attendees of this webinar will learn:

  • Limitations of existing beef trim sampling methods (N60, N60+)
  • Drivers behind the research and development of a new beef trim sampling method
  • New methodology: Manual Sampling Device (MSD) and Continuous Sampling Device (CSD)
  • Summary of completed research
  • Application of methods with pros and cons

For beef trimmings, potential contaminants will be on the exterior surface of the product that was exposed during the slaughter and dressing process. Therefore, collection methods that provide more surface area for the test increase the sensitivity of the sampling. The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends collection methods specifications be designed to ensure that a high percentage of the collected product that is to be used for testing consists of exterior surface tissue.

Currently, two methods (N60 and N60+) are used most often in the beef industry for sample collection for the collection raw beef trim samples. The N60 method requires precise cutting of sixty pieces of surface tissue from beef trimmings. The process takes considerable employee time, destroys just under a pound of meat for each sample, and samples a very limited surface area. The N60+ method can reduce the amount of time required to capture samples, however it requires more expensive equipment and the physical exertion necessary for the technical staff to collect the samples may lead to work-related injuries. Like N60, the N60+ method also causes product loss due to sample collection.

Two new methods have been proven to be at least as effective or better than the current standard methods (N60 and N60+) and are easier, safer, less costly to implement, and sample large surface areas. These methods can be applied in a Manual Sampling Device (MSD) and a Continuous Sampling Device (CSD) for high volume production lines.

The new MSD and CSD beef trim sampling methods can reduce or remove most sources of injury, are simpler and easier to implement, reduce product loss and require less enrichment media than traditional methods, while sampling more surface area than the current methods. The continuous version of this method is ideally suited for high volume production lines and samples the vast majority of product in the lot.  Data collected from multiple trials has shown that the MSD and CSD methods are at least as effective as or better than the N60 and N60+ methods.

The new methodology is being rolled out at several beef packers now.


Tommy L. Wheeler, Ph.D., Research Leader, Meat Safety & Quality Research Unit, USDA, US Meat Animal Research Center

Dr. Wheeler graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics (1984) and a master’s degree in Meat Science (1986). He received his Ph.D. in Meat Science and Muscle Biology from Texas A&M University (1989). Subsequently, he joined the Meats Research Unit staff of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center of USDA-ARS in Clay Center, Nebraska, as a Research Food Technologist.  

In 2005, Dr. Wheeler became Research Leader for the Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit where he directs the research programs of 12 scientists. Dr. Wheeler has spent 29 years conducting research with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and is recognized internationally as a leading scientist in the areas of meat quality, carcass composition, instrument grading and meat safety, as well as the leader of an internationally recognized research team that is successfully addressing high priority industry issues in meat safety and quality.

Dr. Wheeler has authored or co-authored numerous scientific journal publications, abstracts, technical reports/proceedings, patents, and book chapters.

Message Presenter

Terrance M. Arthur, Ph.D., Microbiologist, USDA, US Meat Animal Research Center

Terry Arthur serves as a Research Microbiologist in the Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. The research objectives for the Unit focus on foodborne pathogens and antimicrobial resistance associated with the production of red meat. Terry’s primary interests pertain to understanding the dynamics of pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella that have been associated with feedlot cattle and identifying interventions to reduce or prevent contamination of beef carcasses and raw beef products. In addition, Dr. Arthur’s work has provided a context for the interpretation of antimicrobial resistance data obtained from agricultural sources and resulted in over 80 peer-reviewed publications.

Terry has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Message Presenter

Jason Hastings, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, FREMONTA Corp.

Jason is a seasoned Food Safety Engineer and Laboratory Director with 8+ years of research leadership and testing experience in food and beverage safety, food production, and higher education. Recognized for demonstrating a natural aptitude for leading laboratory teams, as well as for creating laboratory and testing management programs, Jason has a history of contributing to company growth throughout his career, including laboratory design and buildout, method development for analytical equipment, Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), ROI and cost analysis, regulatory practices, supply chain management, management development, infrastructure development, and project management.

Jason joined FREMONTA Corps as Chief Operating Officer in 2017. Under Jason’s leadership, a 14,000-square-foot laboratory for microbiological and chemical testing was conceived, planned, and developed. Jason also nurtures and promotes relationships to support company partnerships and collaborative activities.  

Message Presenter

Garth Hoffmann, National Sales Director, FREMONTA Corp.

Garth Hoffmann is a Food Processing Professional with over 35 years of experience in the business. His career includes Engineering, Operations, Marketing and Sales.  He has worked for Hunt Wesson Foods, Dole Packaged Foods, Tropicana, PepsiCo and NBI Juiceworks prior to joining FREMONTA Corp.

Garth has worked as an Engineering Supervisor, and Production/Sanitation and Safety Supervisor for Hunt Wesson.  He served as Production Manager for North American Manufacturing for Dole, as well as Sr. Marketing Manager. His roles at Tropicana and PepsiCo were in sales, as Sr. National Sales Manager. He retired from PepsiCo and took on the role of Director of sales and Contract Packaging for NBI Juiceworks – a startup Juice manufacturing company.

Garth joined FREMONTA Corp. as National Sales Director in 2017.

Message Presenter

John Powalisz, Director, Business Development, Sentry Equipment

During his 18 years with Sentry Equipment, John has had hands-on experience specifying, selling and starting up sampling solutions for food and beverage plants throughout the world. In his current role, John is the Industry Manager responsible for the Food and Beverage Markets working with clients and industry specialists to develop and employ best practice sampling and monitoring techniques and equipment to optimize processes and food safety compliance.

John has co-authored various sampling guidance documents and has presented numerous papers on sampling equipment for food products ranging from dairy liquids to dry bulk ingredients.

John holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and has continuing education certificates from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and various continuing education programs.

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Who Should Attend?

  • FSQA or FSQC Inspectors
  • Managers
  • Plant Managers
  • Corporate Food Safety Officers

What You Will Learn

Attendees of this webinar will learn:

  • Limitations of existing beef trim sampling methods (N60, N60+)
  • Drivers behind the research and development of a new beef trim sampling method
  • New methodology: Manual Sampling Device (MSD) and Continuous Sampling Device (CSD)
  • Summary of completed research
  • Application of methods with pros and cons

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With proven sampling expertise since 1924, Sentry products and services provide business operations the critical insights to optimize process control and product quality. We deliver true representative sampling and analysis techniques to customers around the globe, empowering them to accurately monitor and measure processes for improved production efficiency, output and safety. Standing behind our commitments, we are determined to tackle any application, anywhere.

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