Food Standards Agency
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Research call: Microbial evaluation of Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) from poultry and pork

The Food Standards Agency is inviting tenders to carry out a microbial evaluation of poultry and pork Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) compared with fresh cuts of meat, meat preparations and minced meat products.


Current European Union legislation (Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004) describes two types of MSM. Techniques that do not alter the structure of the bones produce a product informally known as 'Type 1 MSM', where the calcium content is not significantly higher than that of minced meat. All other processes produce a product informally known as 'Type 2 MSM'.

Depending on the precise nature of the raw material used, low pressure processes may produce products classified as 'Type 1 MSM' or as meat preparations. Meat preparations are defined in the legislation as 'fresh meat, including meat that has been reduced to fragments, which has had foodstuffs, seasonings or additives added to it or which has undergone processes insufficient to modify the internal muscle fibre structure of the meat and thus to eliminate the characteristics of fresh meat'.

About the project

It is important to perform microbial studies to determine the safety of MSM compared with other meat products. This will aid in the assessment of whether current restrictions on the use of MSM are appropriate and proportionate for the protection of public health.

This project will expand on work already carried out for the FSA and will involve microbial data collection to identify the types and abundance of microbes present in MSM. This will enable the factors affecting microbiological quality to be evaluated. This should include a range of microorganisms, including campylobacter and salmonella. Samples will be tested at every stage of the production, chilling, freezing and storage process, enabling the identification of microbiological changes that occur during processing, which will affect final meat safety. This process will be repeated for fresh cuts of meat, meat preparations and minced meat products so that a comparison with MSM can be achieved.

How to apply

To find out more about this research call, you will need to register as a supplier on the FSA’s electronic tendering system, ePPS, via the 'external site' link on this page.

Applications should be submitted online using our electronic procurement system by midday on Monday 27 January 2014.

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