Zero tolerance (trade)

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In food safety policy, a zero tolerance standard generally means that if a potentially dangerous substance (whether microbiological, chemical, or other) is present in or on a product, that product will be considered adulterated and unfit for human consumption.[1]: 279 

Fecal contamination[edit]

In the United States meat and poultry inspection program, "zero tolerance" usually refers to the USDA rule that permits no visible signs of fecal contamination (feces) on meat and poultry carcasses.[1]: 279  USDA requires that any time such fecal contamination is detected, it must be removed from the carcass.[1]: 272  At issue is how this rule has been applied and enforced by USDA in meat and poultry plants.[1]: 272  For a number of years, poultry producers have been permitted to either rinse off or cut away such contamination, but beef producers have only been permitted to trim it with a knife—which they argue costs them money in lost product weight and imposes a requirement that poultry producers do not have to meet.[1]: 272  The policy jargon for this debate is "wash versus trim".[1]: 272  USDA early in 1997 clarified its zero tolerance rule for poultry; a year earlier it gave beef plants permission to use a new high-temperature vacuuming method to remove fecal contamination in lieu of cutting it off.[1]: 272 


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Womach, Jasper (2005-06-16). "Report for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws" (PDF). (2005 ed.). Congressional Research Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2017-11-19.