Thresholds

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Thresholds

Postposted on Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:25 am

Nestle, the world's biggest food and drinks maker, wrote:the level of horse DNA in its Buitoni Beef Ravioli and Beef Tortellini meals was above the 1 percent threshold that the U.K. Food Safety Agency uses to indicate likely adulteration or gross negligence.


Why is there a threshold greater than 0%?!

Here's the article.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:33 am

Horse meat is more commonly consumed in Europe than here in the US. The issue isn't that there was horse meat in the food supply, the issue is that it was mis-labeled as beef.

If you set the threshold at zero, then meat processing plants that handle horse meat would not be able to also handle beef.

That said, 1% does seem a little high to me; but zero is too low, for the reason stated above.

Edit: They probably chose 1% because it is A) low enough to catch intentional cases of fraud; B) high enough that incidental/accidental low-level cross-contamination in plants that handle multiple types of meat won't constitute a violation; and C) a nice round number that even mathematically challenged legislators, bureaucrats, and members of the public can understand.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:14 am

Trouble is they did not state how far above 1% it was.

If it was 1% above then meh, they did not do a good job cleaning their machines between batches of meat.

If it was 50% then they got some explaining to do...
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:19 am

One would hope that the machines are getting cleaned well enough between batches to get the contamination level below 1% regardless of this rule. While 2% is still probably below the level that would indicate willful fraud, it definitely shows a lack of attention to cleanliness.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:18 am

This isn't to do with the machines not being cleaned. This is to do with unscrupulous suppliers across the EU labelling horsemeat as beef in order to turn a quick profit.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21335872
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:00 am

Yes, I realize that. My point was that the 1% threshold is probably there so that accidental low-level cross-contamination isn't counted as fraud (or product mislabeling, or whatever they're calling it). They've presumably got separate rules regarding general cleanliness of the facilities and equipment.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:42 am

The 1% threshold is way too high to cover cross-contamination.

If an industial mincer grinds up 50 metric tonnes of beef a day and the end result contains 1% horse, then that means there was half a tonne of horse "stuck in the machine"

HALF A TONNE.

over 1% horse means that criminals in the EU have been forging paperwork and selling horsemeat as beef, that is all.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:06 pm

I think you don't understand statistics so well.

Take your meat-packing plant, and run a batch of horsemeat through it. Do a pretty good job cleaning, but you might miss a morsel or two. Run a batch of beef through it. The first bit through might have up to 1% horsemeat contamination (assuming things are kosher, as it were), but the last bits of cow might not have detectable levels of horse. Clean and run a batch of horse through again & you'll see cow contamination in the first bits.

One assumes the regulatory agency's sampling methods are reasonably random and that they'd look askance if a big batch of beef had similar levels of contamination throughout.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:42 pm

You guys are making me hungry.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:31 pm

5150 wrote:You guys are making me hungry.

Yup. Time for some Chinese takeout.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:46 pm

If you made the threshold 0% on pretty much anything that is considered toxic/lethal etc. you'd basically stop every single industry in the world from doing anything. Sure some things are able to be kept to below ppb, ppm, etc. levels, but it still means that turning that ppb no. into 0 is effectively impossible because almost everything is contaminated with some horse meat, some mercury, some cocaine etc.
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:39 pm

ludi wrote:
5150 wrote:You guys are making me hungry.

Yup. Time for some Chinese takeout.

I thought they tended to use pigeon and dog (not horse)?
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Re: Thresholds

Postposted on Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:19 pm

just brew it! wrote:
ludi wrote:
5150 wrote:You guys are making me hungry.

Yup. Time for some Chinese takeout.

I thought they tended to use pigeon and dog (not horse)?

Back in college, I had a Korean professor whose explanation was "if the Chinese can catch it, they can cook it." :lol:
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