Meat Notice 2017-02 - Extension of the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli testing program to include exports to Canada

Issue Date: 23 February 2017

Contact Officers:

Mac Tawadros
Export Meat Program
02 8334 7568

Samantha Allan
National Veterinary Technical Manager
07 3246 8606

Category: Legal requirements including market access requirements

Date of Effect: Immediate

Date of Review: February 2019

Distribution Categories

Central and regional office
Department on-plant officer(s)
Managers, export meat establishments

1. Purpose

This notice provides export registered establishments with the operational requirements they must comply with to meet market access requirements for raw ground beef components (RGBCs) and raw ground beef products (RGBPs) intended for export to Canada from 1 March 2017.

2. Scope

This notice applies to all Australian export establishments (including abattoirs, further processors and cold stores) that are either currently listed or are seeking listing for Canada and want to export RGBCs and/or RGBPs.

To meet Canada’s Policy on the Control of E. coli O157:H7/NM Contamination in Raw Beef Products Canada listed establishments must implement mandatory Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) testing requirements on RGBCs and RGBPs produced from 1 March 2017.

3. Definitions

The following table defines terms used in this notice.



Raw ground beef components (RGBC)

Include all beef and veal bulk packed manufacturing trimmings and other beef and veal components of primal and sub-primal cuts, head meat, cheek meat, oesophagus meat and advanced meat recovery (AMR) product intended for grinding in Canada or the United States of America (USA) and its territories.

Raw ground beef products (RGBP)

Include raw comminuted (chopped or ground) meat food products that are made from cattle (beef and/or veal), such as ground beef, hamburger, veal patties, and beef patty mix, that may be distributed to consumers as such. It is important to note that products comprised only of beef from AMR and beef sausages are not considered as RGPBs.

Shiga toxin-producing
E. coli (STEC)

Strains of E. coli that contain genes that encode the production of Shiga toxin(s) and intimin (eae). For the purpose of this document, STEC denotes E. coli strains of serotype O157, O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145.

4. Responsibilities

4.1. Establishment management must:

  1. Amend the approved arrangement to describe how establishment management will implement an STEC testing program of RGBCs and/or RGBPs intended for export to Canada. (Note, if the establishment is also US listed, this STEC program will also apply to the USA and its Territories.)

    *   The program must be implemented in accordance with the procedures detailed in the Microbiological Manual Section 8.1 for RGBCs and section 8.2 for RGBPs.

    *   The amended approved arrangement must be approved by the Area Technical Manager (ATM) or Senior Food Safety Auditor (SFSA), as appropriate depending on establishment type, prior to producing RGBCs and RGBPs for the Canadian market from 1 March 2017.

  2. For export registered abattoirs, submit the amended approved arrangement through the On-Plant Veterinarian (OPV) to the ATM for approval.

  3. For export registered further processing establishments and cold stores, submit the amended approved arrangement through the Food Safety Auditor (FSA) to the SFSA for approval.

  4. Ensure all RGBCs and RGBPs produced for the Canadian market from 1 March 2017 comply with the requirements of the STEC program.

4.2. Department OPVs and FSAs must:

  1. Provide a copy of this meat notice as soon as possible to establishment management. 

  2. Verify the establishment responsibilities and actions of this meat notice have been included in the occupier’s approved arrangement.

4.3. ATMs and SFSAs must:

  1. Review and approve the occupier’s amendments to the approved arrangement to incorporate STEC testing requirements of RGBCs and/or RGBPs for Canada.

  2. Upon approval of the approved arrangement, recommend the establishment for Canadian ground beef listing (listing code CABG).

  3. Verify through audit the occupier’s compliance with these Canadian, and if also US listed USA, importing country requirements.

5. Requirements

From 1 March 2017, each microbiologically independent lot of RGBC and RGBP produced for Canada will need to undergo pre-export N=60 STEC testing. 

The same pre-export STEC testing requirements that are currently applied to RGBC and RGBP for export to the United States of America (USA) will apply to these products produced for export to Canada.

At time of RFP submission, exporters of RGBC and RGBP for export to Canada are required to make the following exporter declaration:

"The beef intended for grinding in this shipment has been tested negative for E. coli O157:H7."

Establishments must refer to the Microbiological Manual for Sampling and Testing of Export Meat and Meat Products (the Manual) Section 8.1 and 8.2 for the program requirements that need to be implemented for STEC testing of RGBC and RGBP, respectively. The approved arrangement must address all elements of the testing program including reporting requirements.

A Canadian port-of-entry (POE) for STEC will be handled in line with the department’s Critical Incident Response (CIR) Guideline.]

Note that the department will update both the Microbiological Manual and the CIR Guideline to extend the scope of this market access testing requirement to cover exports to Canada and the USA and its territories.

5.1 Raw Ground Beef Components:

In line with Section 8.1 of the Microbiological Manual, establishments must implement STEC testing of RGBC of the seven STEC serotypes as defined in this notice (see section 3 Definitions) unless a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) reassessment demonstrates that testing for E. coli O157 alone adequately controls the other six serotypes.

The department’s monthly STEC verification testing program will be extended to apply to RGBC destined for export to Canada from 1 March 2017.  Note, at dual listed US and Canada establishments preparing RGBCs for export, only a single monthly verification sample is required which will service both markets.

5.2 Raw Ground Beef Products:

In line with Section 8.2 of the Microbiological Manual, establishments must implement E. coli O157 testing of RGBP and consider testing for the other STEC serotypes as defined in this notice.

Angela O’Sullivan
Export Meat Program

Other format