Consumers expect food to be safe to eat. Outbreaks of meat-borne illness, particularly when well-publicised can harm consumer confidence.
The MIMM (Meat Industry MicroManual) was created by a collaboration of industry and AgResearch scientists with the intent of increasing NZ food-safety standards and enabling meat laboratories in Aotearoa to have confident and immediate access to the latest international standards and best practices for microbiology-testing procedures.
The MicroManual covers a wide range of topics relating to meat and meat-related products including water. There are chapters on general subjects including laboratory safety, quality control of laboratory equipment and testing methods, as well as chapters on collection and preparation, microscopy, biochemical tests, requirements for export, HACCP and a list of approved reference cultures for test method evaluation.
The MicroManaual was originally produced for red meat-testing laboratories, but the intent is to gradually incorporate additional procedures that accommodate HACCP requirements of other types of meat, both processed and unprocessed.
Suitable methods are those that are rapid and convenient, but at the same time cost effective, and considered appropriate for microbiological testing of one or more of the following sample-types: meat and allied foods, potable water or the waste-waters produced during food processing.
The manual includes tests for organisms (or their products) that indicate microbiological contamination and/or satisfactory hygienic control of processes and for specific identification of spoilage organisms or pathogens.