WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU
GOALS, PRIORITIES AND CAPABILITIES
Center for Meat Safety & Quality
Food safety is a dynamic and challenging concern which requires generation of new information and continuous re-evaluation of existing knowledge in order to address newly developed, perceived or recognized threats or risks to human health, and to develop effective and economic means for their control, without adverse effects on product quality. Important food safety concerns include illness from pathogenic microorganisms including zoonotic animal pathogens, chemical contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants, and food additives.
The increasing complexity of food production, processing and distribution systems, as well as the continuous development of new products in response to consumer concerns and their demands for convenience in food preparation, as well as the internationalization of the food supply chain, offer challenges for producers, processors, distributors, retailers, researchers, regulators and public health authorities to ensure exemplary food product safety and quality at a reasonable cost. Assuring that consumers worldwide have access to a dependable supply of safe and high quality meat and other food products is the primary goal of the Center for Meat Safety & Quality at Colorado State University.
Specific meat safety and quality issues which have received scientific and regulatory attention, as well as publicity, in recent years include: performance- and risk-based inspection activities for meat and poultry products; decontamination of carcasses and meat with physical or chemical interventions; nationwide microbiological baseline surveys for pathogens; the hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) system; humane treatment of animals; meat composition, quality and palatability; growth and development of meat animals; work-place safety; bovine spongiform encephalopathy; pesticide, hormone, antibiotic and drug residues in meat products; bans of exports of red meat products to countries such as those of the European Union and Japan due to inspectional differences or safety issues; instrument grading and tenderness assessment of meat; nutritional labeling; food irradiation; product cross-contamination; levels of fat, cholesterol and other lipid components of meat products; detection and tracking of bacterial pathogens; animal identification and food tracing; and, control of microbiological pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, non- O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Campylobacter.
In addition, interest is increasing for adoption of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Quality Standards by various segments of the food industry as they seek equal and fair competition in overseas markets. The Center for Meat Safety & Quality has available expertise to address all of these issues, and to contribute to enhancement of food safety worldwide.
CMSQ Priorities and Capabilities
Priorities and capabilities include: Identify and evaluate potential human health problems from bacterial pathogens; Study the behavior of pathogenic bacteria (e.g., Escherichia coli O157:H7, non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Campylobacter) in foods; Reduce the incidence of foodborne illness by developing procedures, techniques, and effective interventions for pathogen reduction and control throughout the food chain; Study the molecular ecology and transmission dynamics of human food borne pathogens; Probe the molecular pathogenesis of human food borne diseases; Develop and evaluate techniques and biosensors for rapid detection of food borne pathogens; Examine animal identification and traceability systems for prevention/control of spread of foreign animal diseases, foodborne pathogen outbreaks and agricultural/food bioterrorism; Reduce residues of pesticides, other chemicals and toxic compounds, in general, which may find their way into animal food products; Enhance the nutritional value of meat by reducing fat levels in animal products; Identify value-determining physical characteristics of beef, pork and lamb; Assure that meat products are of appropriate quality and palatability to meet the needs of domestic and international customers and consumers; Evaluate international trade regulations and develop science-based strategies to ensure exports of high quality, nutritious and safe food products; Develop and evaluate outreach education materials for industry, regulatory and public health agencies, Extension educators, agriculture professionals, and consumers to raise awareness of safe food-handling practices and help assure that consumers worldwide have access to a dependable supply of safe and high quality food products; Assist producers and processors with understanding local, state, and federal regulations and requirements pertaining to the safe handling, distribution, and traceability of meat products through commercial and direct market outlets.