ISO 6887-2:2017— Meat And Meat Products

Food quality control expert inspecting at meat specimen in the laboratory adhering to microbiological testing in ISO 6887-2:2017.

Meat testing helps prevent and detect public health hazards in meat—including chemical contaminants and foodborne pathogens. By identifying harmful microorganisms in food products, microbiology testing of meat is essential to assure that meat and meat products are safe and properly labeled for consumers consumption. ISO 6887-2:2017— Microbiology Of The Food Chain – Preparation Of Test Samples, Initial Suspension And Decimal Dilutions For Microbiological Examination – Part 2: Specific Rules For The Preparation Of Meat And Meat Products covers specifications for preparing meat and meat products in a laboratory.

Microbiological Testing of Meat

Some meat plant operations produce aerosols of bacteria and molds, which can serve as a means of contaminating meat and equipment. As such microbiological testing of food like meat is imperative. Microbiological testing involves evaluating food samples to identify and measure harmful microorganisms— bacteria, viruses, molds, and yeasts. Common types of microorganisms tested in meat include E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter jejuni. Microbiological testing of meat can include aerobic plate count (APC), coliforms, fecal coliforms, molds, yeasts, and some selected bacteria such as E. coli. Microbiological testing of meat thereby is critical to helping prevent contamination, spoilage, and potential health risks associated with foodborne illness due to the improper care of meat.

What Is ISO 6887-2?

ISO 6887-2:2017 specifies rules for the preparation of meat and meat product samples and their suspension for microbiological examination when the samples require different preparation from the methods described in ISO 6887‑1. ISO 6887‑1 defines the general rules for the preparation of the initial suspension and dilutions for microbiological examination. ISO 6687-1:2017—Initial Suspension and Dilutions specifies requirements for Part 1 of the ISO 6887 series for Microbiology of the Food Chain.  

Part 2 of the ISO 6887 series is applicable to fresh, raw and processed meats, poultry and game and their products. Specifically, ISO 6887-2:2017 applies to the following kinds of meat products:

  • Refrigerated or frozen
  • Cured or fermented
  • Minced or comminuted
  • Meat preparations
  • Mechanically separated meat
  • Cooked meats
  • Dried and smoked meats at various degrees of dehydration
  • Concentrated meat extracts
  • Excision and swab samples from carcasses

Testing Bacteria in Meat

Although all raw agricultural products—including meat and poultry— naturally may contain bacteria, even pathogenic bacteria, the naked eye cannot detect the bacteria. In other words, we cannot detect bacteria at post-mortem inspection. Clean meat monitored via visual inspection, however, is an important starting point for the microbiological status of fresh meat, but to objectively assess meat for bacteria present involves further testing. These tests include  standard plate counts, Coliform bacteria, Generic Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp, and Listeria monocytogenes.

What Kinds of Meat Samples are Sent to a Laboratory?

ISO 6887-2:2017 specifies that the meat and meat-based products samples sent to a laboratory may include any of the following types:

  • Units of meat or meat-based products, prepared or processed and of different dimensions
  • Cuts of meat taken from larger units of meat
  • Primal cuts of meat taken from carcasses
  • Shavings or fragments taken from frozen blocks
  • Offal from various species
  • Oriental delicacies such as chicken and duck feet

The standard details that tissues, swabs or other types of samples collected using non-destructive methods (see ISO 17604) may also be sent to the laboratory.

ISO 6887-2:2017— Microbiology Of The Food Chain – Preparation Of Test Samples, Initial Suspension And Decimal Dilutions For Microbiological Examination – Part 2: Specific Rules For The Preparation Of Meat And Meat Products is available on the ANSI Webstore and in this standards package, ISO 6887 – Microbiology of the Food Chain Package.

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