Using established saw washing standard operating procedures (SOP), in a controlled setting,
identify two SOP's to be subsequently evaluated on-line.
Findings: A study was conducted to determine the effect of saw washing procedures on GFAP presence in the drive wheel housing and on the blade of a Jarvis Buster IV carcass splitting saw, off-line at a commercial beef packing facility. Five different saw washing procedures were tested at three different water temperatures. Results of this study indicate that all saw washing procedures performed were effective at reducing GFAP and that no individual saw washing procedure was more effective than any other procedure at reducing GFAP. Results also indicate that ambient water temperatures circulating throughout the saw during splitting reduced residual GFAP on saw blades and in drive wheel housings. Using ambient water temperatures in the saw during splitting is, however, contradictory to saw washing procedures currently in place, which have been established to reduce microbial loads and prevent potential pathogenic cross-contamination via the saw blades and housings. Industry professionals must determine the goal of their saw washing procedures and set the water temperature within their saws accordingly. Although reasonably low levels of residual spinal cord equivalents were found to exist on blades and saw housings following washing, it is unknown whether these levels pose a human food-safety threat. Lasmezas, in a 2005 paper indicated that the infectious dose of pre-clinical BSE-infected brain material was 1.5 Kg, whereas clinical BSE-infected brain material was only 5 g. Further research is needed to determine the infectious dose of BSE infected spinal cord to determine if more stringent saw washing procedures need to be implemented.