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Mapping Pork Lymph Nodes

20 March 2015

Alberta’s meat and livestock industry continues to evolve, sometimes in response to external drivers such as food safety guidelines and expectations.

Food safety, which begins on farm and continues down the line to packaging the various cuts, is a priority for Canada’s pork industry.

Olds College, a leading Canadian meat training institute, continually works with industry to find educational solutions to industry’s safety needs.

Lymph nodes, which are a health concern to humans if ingested, are viewed as a food safety hazard in these markets.

Increased knowledge of pork lymph node locations in a carcass is one area that is drawing attention. Full removal of pork lymph nodes in specific pork cuts and trimmings is expected in a number of international markets.

The problem arises when multiple lymph nodes exist in a specific area and are not all detected and removed.

The resources to identify, locate, and adequately remove all lymph nodes within a carcass are currently not available.

Existing pork lymph node reference materials are often non­specific and often miss demonstrating all potential lymph node locations.

Unfortunately, not meeting a market’s product specifications in one part of a delivery can result in rejection of the whole delivery, with potential loss of the entire contract.

Recognising where pork lymph nodes are located is a learned skill.

In partnership with Canada Pork International (CPI), the University of Calgary, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Lacombe), and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Olds College is mapping lymph nodes in pork carcases.

Information about lymph node identification, location and systematic removal procedures will be included in the CPI handbook.

Olds College will also include this new information in the National Meat Training Centre curriculum to ensure that the future generations of meat cutters are adequately trained in removing lymph nodes.

“The increased knowledge gained through our program and the resulting standardized procedures will allow Canada’s pork industry to improve its competitiveness,” said Brad McLeod, Olds College Meat Program Manager.

Olds College will convert technical information, reference points and carcase/cut orientation data into schematic charts and video clips.

Industry will access this information through the Olds College curriculum as well as the CPI handbook.

“This type of training could help the packing industry gain valuable access to international markets,” said Gordon Cove, ALMA President and CEO.

“This could potentially give the Alberta pork industry an edge over competitors.”

March 2015

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