The Office of the Surgeon General has defined excellent condition as: meat that
has a degree of freshness exhibited by meat maintained at an optimum temperature of
32-40F (0-4.4C) and normally, the product will not be more than ten days old from
the date of slaughter. However, the final determination of excellent condition shall be
based on product characteristics.
a. Conveyance Inspection. Inspect the conveyance to determine temperature,
vehicle cleanliness, and presence of off-odors.
Normally, carcass beef is hung while in transit.
(2) The inspection data packet should state shipping and delivery
requirements. Temperature of conveyance, wrapping of carcasses while in transit are
examples of delivery requirements.
(3) Examine the hooks. Pay special attention to the point of penetration.
This cursory inspection is done to give the inspector a general idea of the cleanliness of
the hooks and to ensure they are free of foreign matter.
b. Evaluate Adequacy of Packaging, Packing and Marking. The inspector
determines if the packaging, packing, and marking of the carcass comply with the
inspection data packet.
c. Determine Age at Delivery. The inspector determines the age of the
carcass at delivery and if it meets the requirements listed in the inspection data packet.
d. Determine Temperature. The inspector determines the temperature of
carcass beef and compares it with the requirements given in the inspection data packet.
The temperature is taken in the thickest part of the carcass. On the forequarter, the
temperature is taken in the rose of the shoulder. On the hindquarter, the temperature is
taken in the thickest part of the round.
e. Inspect for Abnormalities. Examine the beef carcass for any abnormalities
(Section II of Lesson 1). The veterinary food inspection specialist performs this
inspection by visual, tactile, and olfactory examination. Some of the specific critical
areas on the carcass to examine for off-condition are:
(1) Under the skirt. The anterior surface of the skirt lies in close contact with
the thoracic wall. This impedes air circulation and promotes the retention or
accumulation of moisture. In conjunction with muscle tissue, this moisture provides an
excellent medium for the growth of bacteria. Place the hand under the skirt and
examine the entire area for presence of slime or stickiness.