Handling Ground Meats-Sausage-Grinder

Ground Meat quality can make or break a meat department
There is no excuse for displaying fat, dark or unappealing hamburger.
It ranks up near, if not at, the top of sales in the meat department and a strict quality control program is mandatory if a good hamburger business is to be generated and maintained, here are some guidelines:

1) Keep within the law regarding fat content, not to exceed 30% for regular, 22% for lean and 15% for extra lean.
2) A grinder, well maintained, capable of 60 lbs per minute is essential.
3) A mixer, well maintained, capacity 120 lbs is needed for efficiency.
4) Ground meats should be made from shop trimmings, meat which has been pulled from sale and boneless beef (frozen)
5) Meat cutters should be instructed to keep shop trimmings as close to 30% fat as possible.
6) The trimmings should be put thru the grinder once and mixed (3 to 5 minutes), The head should be removed from grinder and the knives and plate should be cleared of cartilage and debris, then the meat is ground a second time (about 3 minutes)
7) Grind several times daily, enough for about 3 hours business, will ensure a fresh grind and reduce the possibility of too much old hamburger being left over.
8) Leftover hamburger the next day is dark in color, not spoiled, so a snack bar could use it for meatloaf etc.

DO NOT mix day old ground beef with fresh hamburger.
Try to keep trimmings as close to the requirement in fat as possible
The trimmings for each type of ground meat, Regular, Lean or Extra Lean should be kept in separate lugs for this purpose.

Boneless meat over 2 inches across or larger should be made into boneless stew or cubed steaks, these cuts should be priced HIGHER THAN extra lean ground beef

Meat Ingredient Storage
• Meat ingredients should be stored at 39°F or lower in bins, under peach paper or in bags until use.
• If store generated trim is used it must be carefully handled to prevent contamination and ensure adequate temperature control while in production and storage areas. Store produced trim should be labeled with the production date, species, and lean percentage or classification.

Ingredient selection and preparation
Select meat ingredients in a “first in–first out” inventory management system. If meat is frozen, thaw at 39°F or less
Inspect meat for off odor, excess purge, bone-chips, torn or ripped packaging or any other condition which would make the ground meat or trim unsatisfactory for use.
Get meat products from establishments which have a HACCP or other type of food safety assurance system.

Take special care to ensure that clips removed from chubs do not enter the product.
To reduce the likelihood of contamination after opening do not remove any ground product from chubs until you are ready to package or grind.

Grinder Inspection
Bolts, pins, or other small parts removed during disassembly must all be accounted for and securely placed so that they cannot get into ground products.
Ensure the grinder is free of excessive rust, flaking paint, or other condition which could contaminate a product.
All grinder components should be periodically inspected by professional mechanics for evidence of wear or other condition which could lead to metal particles entering product or difficulty in cleaning.
Grinder must be visually free of meat residues and pooled water.
Individuals involved with ground meat production must ensure that hands and garments are clean and that requirements for personnel hygiene are being observed.

Grinding Production
Try to grind only what is required in the next few hours.
Monitor sales to ensure that overproduction does not occur.
Grind meat in areas which are colder than 45°F and whenever possible 40°F or colder
If room temperatures are 10°C or more, a complete cleanup should be performed at mid-shift to prevent buildup of bacteria on meat contact surfaces.
Keep meat ingredients cold enough to ensure that product leaving the grinder is 40°F or colder.
Make sure ground meat is placed into clean containers and that all other meat contact surfaces including trays are very clean.
Place finished packaged product in refrigerated display or storage as soon as possible.
Keep ground meat from chubs separate from that produced from in-store trimmings.
Do not mix any ground product left from prior day into fresh ground meat production.

Grinder Sanitation
Create written instructions for disassembly and sanitation of the grinder.
Completely disassemble, clean and sanitize the grinder after each day of production or more often if needed.
A complete cleanup of the grinder must be undertaken when switching to another species.

Sausage Casings Selection and Storage
Casings, if used, should be from an approved source such as those listed with the USDA.
To prevent the growth of bacteria during storage, natural casings should be salted or kept in brine (salt and water) at 40°F or lower (but not frozen) in covered containers.

To avoid mold growth after opening, collagen and fibrous casings should not be kept in warm humid areas but rather in sealed bags or containers in a dry cooler.
Follow the shelf life recommendations of the manufacturer for the specific storage method utilized.

Sausage Ingredient Selection and Storage
Ingredients should be stored covered at 40°F or lower and, if store generated materials are used, ensure they are labeled with the production date.
Get meat products from establishments which have HACCP or other food safety assurance system.

Spice and Seasoning Selection and Storage
Spices and seasonings should be from an approved source where the manufacturer has in place specific controls to reduce bacteria and ensure they are free of foreign materials.
Spices and seasonings should be stored covered and be protected from humidity, pests, and cleaning chemicals.
Whenever possible, place smaller quantities in spice and seasoning bins to avoid opened product from being unused for long periods where bacteria levels increase.
Scoops should be cleaned each.

Ingredient Inspection and Preparation
Inspect natural casings, these should be relatively free of patches of spongy tissue on their lining which can indicate incomplete cleaning during casing production and cause shortened shelf life.
If ice is used in sausage production, ensure that the ice box is cleaned regularly and that only clean scoops (and never hands) are used to remove it.
Periodic microbiological testing of ice and water should be performed at least semiannually.
• If meat ingredients are frozen prior to usage, they should be thawed at 40°F or lower. Inspect meat for off odor, bone-chips, cartilage, glands, foreign materials, or any other condition which would make it unsatisfactory for use.
• Select all ingredients in accordance with a first in–first out inventory system and whenever possible avoid the use of rework. When possible, use whole muscle cuts for grinding to enhance shelf-life.

Grinding Equipment Sanitation
• A written procedure for dis-assembly and sanitation of the grinder, mixer, stuffer,and all other equipment should be followed each production day or more often if needed. If sausage is being produced from a different species than the previous batch, a cleanup should be performed.
• When equipment is cleaned it should also be inspected for rust, excessive wear or any other condition which could produce contamination or make cleaning difficult. Report any problems to your supervisor.

Pre-operational Inspection
• At the start of production, all equipment should be inspected to ensure that it is free of visible meat residues, pooled water, or cleaning chemicals.
• Individuals involved with sausage production must ensure that hands and garments are clean and that requirements for personnel hygiene are being observed.
• All bolts and pins must be accounted for and properly secured. It may be helpful to construct a checklist to ensure that nothing is missed.
• To prevent metal fragments or other physical hazards from entering sausage, all equipment should be maintained and inspected by qualified personnel as per a written maintenance schedule.

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