Request for clarification on the Scientific Opinion on the public health risks related to the maintenance of the cold chain during storage and transport of meat (Part 1 and Part 2)
Following the adoption by EFSA's BIOHAZ Panel of the Scientific Opinion on the public health risks related to the maintenance of the cold chain during storage and transport of meat, Part 1 and Part 2, the European Commission requested clarification before considering EU provisions based on the EFSA recommendations. EFSA was asked to clarify that additional research data provided by KU Leuven and TNO on the removal of body heat from carcasses, do not require an update of recommendations made in the EFSA opinion Part 1. EFSA confirmed that, although the focus of the KU-Leuven study is different to the EFSA opinion and was conducted using a different model, different conditions, different chilling profiles and a target pathogen, the results do not contradict any of the conclusions or recommendations of the EFSA opinion. EFSA was asked to confirm that the additional requirement (maximum core temperature before transport) would be a good additional parameter to better control and maintain surface temperature during storage and transport. There are many factors that influence the relationship between core and surface temperature in relation to the capacity of a chilling process. Chilling the core of a carcass to a specified temperature is a relevant management option to achieve that sufficient heat is removed. The specified temperature has to be determined in relation to the conditions of the chilling process. For beef under a set of conditions, 15°C was indicated to remove 70% or carcass heat which was sufficient in relation to conditions of transport in that example. EFSA clarified that the expected outcome would be the same for raw materials used for minced meat as for meat preparations and that the conclusions and recommendations of the EFSA opinion (Part 2) apply equally to all animal species and there is no need for differentiation.