Estimated compliance for removal of specified risk materials from 18 U.S. beef packing plants

R. D. Dewell, T. W. Hoffman, D. R. Woerner, K. E. Belk, L. R. Whalen, A. D. Fails, J. A. Scanga, G. C. Smith, M. D. Salman

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4 Scopus citations


The removal of 18,345 specified risk materials was observed during audits of 18 U.S. beef processing facilities that, in total, account for over 90% of total U.S. beef slaughtered. Audited plants varied in capacity (280 to 6,000 head per day) and processed both "fed (young cattle)" and "nonfed (mature cows/bulls)" cattle. When all observations for removal of specified risk materials were combined from plants and adjusted for type of cattle processed, overall compliance with specified risk material removal regulations was 98.08%. A 100% compliance rate for removal of brains and distal ileums was recorded based on a total of 600 observations for removal of brains and a total of 2,400 observations for removal of distal ileums. Observations for removal of dorsal root ganglia were collected from 16 of the 18 plants, and overall compliance for dorsal root ganglia removal was 99.6% (4,783 of 4,800). Fifteen of the 16 plants were 100% compliant. For tonsils, data from 18 plants were collected, and tonsils were correctly removed from 92.8% (4,777 of 5,145) of tongues and heads. Data for spinal cord removal were collected from 18 plants, and the spinal cord was removed completely in line with U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food Safety and Inspection Service regulations for 99.43% of the observations. Based on the results of this study, packing plants have demonstrated that they are complying with regulations for removal of specified risk materials from beef meat products intended for human consumption greater than 98% of the time. To continue to assure food safety and consumer confidence, continued vigilance and provision of training programs for plant workers are essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-577
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


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