Fact Sheets

AMSA Fact Sheets 

Published by the AMSA Scientific Information Committee

Salmonella Fact Sheet

  • Salmonella is a gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria with a talent for adapting to its environment. This ability to grow or persist in many different conditions makes it particularly problematic as a foodborne pathogen.

Anatomy of a Meat Product Label

  • In the U.S, labeling of meat and poultry products intended for interstate commerce is closely regulated by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Beta-Agonists: What Are They and Why Do We Use Them in Livestock Production?

  • Beta-adrenergic receptor agonists (beta-agonists, for short) are synthetic compounds that mimic some of the effects of naturally-occurring compounds by binding to beta-receptors on the surface of cells within the muscle, fat and other tissues of animals.

Mechanically Separated Poultry

  • Mechanically separated poultry (chicken or turkey) is a low-cost poultry protein, which is produced by mechanically separating bone and attached skeletal muscle.

Co-Published Fact Sheets 

AMSA and the National Pork Board have co-published a series of fact sheets on various aspects of pork quality. Titles are listed below. Many of these are under revision and will be re-released in early 2010.

On-Farm Pork Safety

  • Toxoplasma
    This fact sheet provides detailed information on Toxoplasmosis and discusses control strategies to prevent infection
  • Trichinae
    Provides basic information about Trichinae and the Trichinae Herd Certification program.

Post Harvest Pork Safety

  • Employee Involvement in HACCP is as Easy as Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
    This fact sheet outlines how employees should be involved in all stages of a successful HACCP program.
  • Implementing a Recall Program for Small Processors
    A recall is a voluntary procedure by a company to remove adulterated products that may pose health hazards to consumers from the marketplace. This fact sheet discusses when a recall should be issued, how to initiate a recall and what affects a recall will have on a business.
  • Industry Guidelines to Prevent Contamination from Listeria monocytogenes 
    This fact sheet provides practical guidelines for preventing contamination of products fromListeria monocytogenes, including information on controlling contamination on product surfaces and preventing the growth of the organism in the plant environment.
  • Introduction to HACCP for Meat and Poultry Processors
    The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) concept is a systematic, science-based process control system for food safety. This fact sheet desribes the history of the system and the steps needed to implement HACCP in a processing facility.
  • Meat Inspection
    This fact sheet reviews the meat inspection process and programs.
  • Pork Irradiation Project
    This fact sheet reviews the advantages of irradiation technology in improving food safety.
  • Pork Irradiation Safety
    This fact sheet provides an overview of irradiation, including a look at research on the technology and potential benefits.
  • Pre-Shipment Record Review Options for Small Processors
    Because many small operations lack the appropriate personnel to conduct HACCP under traditional means, novel approaches are required to meet certain regulatory requirements. This publication describes clarifications of the Final Rule by USDA that give small processors the flexibility to pursue non-traditional avenues of meeting regulatory requirements
  • Safety of Cured Pork Products
    This document talks about methods of curing and residual nitrite use. It also addresses nitrite's role in human health.
  • Trichinae
    Provides basic information about Trichinae and the Trichinae Herd Certification program.
  • What Will HACCP Mean to My Business
    This fact sheet discusses the impact of HACCP on processors including responsibilities, standard operating procedures and more.

Pork Quality

  • Impact of Paylean™ on Pork Quality
  • Consumer Attitudes Towards Color and Marbling of Fresh Pork
    Because color is an indicator of pork quality, consumers use it as a primary cue for making purchase decisions. This fact sheet examines the factors that affect the color of meat, colors consumers will accept or reject and attitudes towards marbling in fresh pork.
  • Critical Points Affecting Fresh Pork Quality within the Packing Plant
    This fact sheet provides eight pages of information on transport, lairage, stunning and carcass handling, detailing their impact on meat quality at the packing plant.
  • Ethnic Marketing of Pork
    As the ethnic make-up of the U.S. rapidly becomes more diverse, new marketing opportunities are opening up for packers and processors. This fact sheet discusses steps the pork industry can take to effectively meet the needs of various ethnic groups.
  • Extension of Chilled Pork Storage Life
    An eight-page fact sheet, this publication offers keys to maximizing storage life and factors impacting the shelf-life of chilled pork.
  • Functionality of Non-Meat Ingredients Used in Enhanced Pork
    Enhanced pork is the process of adding non-meat ingredients to fresh pork to improve the eating quality of the final product. This fact sheet examines the major ingredients used in enhanced pork and summarizes their effects on different quality attributes.
  • Marbling and Pork Tenderness
    This fact sheet discusses the pros and cons of marbling in retail meats and the effects on pork tenderness. Includes a scale for measuring marbling.
  • National Pork Retail Microbiological Baseline
    This fact sheet discusses the results of the recently completed study on microbial levels in pork at retail. The study was conducted by Colorado State University for the National Pork Board.
  • Nutritional Influences on Pork Quality
    This fact sheet examines the impact of swine diets on pork quality traits. It discusses vitamin, mineral and protein levels.
  • Organic Pork Standards
    The demand by consumers for organic foods has grown tremendously in the past few years. This fact sheet describes the standards producers, packers and processors must meet for their product to be considered organic.
  • Pork Irradiation Project
    This fact sheet includes information about the impact of irradiation on pork quality, concluding that irradiation does not negatively effect the quality of meat products.
  • Pork Quality Targets
    This fact sheet defines six pork quality targets: color, pH, tenderness, flavor, intramuscular fat (marbling) and drip loss.
  • Procedures for Estimating Pork Carcass Composition
    This fact sheet describes several methods of pork carcass evaluation used by the industry to improve productivity and carcass merit and to realize value differences at the market place.
  • Safety of Cured Pork Products
    This document talks about methods of curing and residual nitrite use. It also addresses nitrite's role in human health.
  • Sensory Evaluation of Pork
    Understanding the eating qualities of pork is an important component of improving its competitiveness. This fact sheet describes trained and consumer sensory evaluation techniques that can be used to test the eating characteristics of pork.
  • The Impact of Genetics on Pork Quality
    This fact sheet looks at four key pork quality traits - color, ultimate pH, water-holding capacity and intramuscular fat - and the effect of various genetic sources on these traits.
  • The Role of Carcass Chilling in the Development of Pork Quality
    This fact sheet resulted from the presentations made at the National Pork Board Workshop by the same name and is a comprehensive look at chilling methods and how they impact quality and shelf life.
  • Variation in Pork Lean Quality
    Lean quality factors in pork affect product attractiveness to potential customers, processing characteristics for value-added product manufacture and the ultimate palatability and satisfaction of pork products to consumers. This fact sheet focuses on variations in factors such as muscle color, texture, marbling and functionality.
  • What is "Warmed-Over Flavor"?
    This fact sheet discusses one of the primary causes of quality deterioration in cooked, refrigerated and pre-cooked, frozen products. It includes a discussion of the means of delaying warmed-over flavor in pork.

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