EFSA scientists have carried out an assessment on the growth of spoilage bacteria in fresh beef, pork, poultry and lamb, and on the extent to which time and temperature contribute to risk of meat going bad.
Using a series of predictive models to compare and contrast the growth of spoilage bacteria with the growth of pathogenic bacterium, the experts have concluded that spoilage bacteria grows faster than pathogenic bacteria under the same conditions.
“If the sole consideration was safety, policy makers would have more options on the table to pick from,” said Dr Marta Hugas, head of EFSA’s Biological hazards and contaminants unit. “However, scenarios that are acceptable in terms of safety may not be acceptable in terms of quality.”
Current EU law requires that carcasses are stored at a temperature no hotter than seven degrees Celsius, and this temperature had to be maintained until mincing. According to EFSA, the European Commission wants to revise this legislation to provide the industry with more flexibility over transport and storage.