Vacuum Packaging Food Safety Principles

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1 Slide 1 Vacuum Packaging Food Safety Principles Retail Meat & Poultry Processing Training Modules Speaker Notes The Vacuum Packaging module focuses on the food safety hazards and risks associated with reduced oxygen packaging methods like vacuum packaging. When food safety principles are applied, vacuum packaging increases quality and shelf life of a product. Slide 2 Produced under a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Developed by: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Dairy and Food Inspection Division Hennepin County Environmental Health Minnesota Department of Health University of Minnesota Extension Service September 2004 This module was developed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture with expertise and resources from the Hennepin County Environmental Health, Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. The Retail Meat and Poultry Processing Training Modules were produced under a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. Food safety regulators, trainers and representatives from the food industry provided input on the final product at prior training sessions showcasing the Retail Meat and Poultry Processing Training Modules. Note: Rules and regulations cited throughout this presentation comply with the Minnesota Food Code. These may differ for you, if you adhere to other standards and regulations. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 1

2 Slide 3 Pretest Administer Pretest: Before we start the Vacuum Packaging training, let s see how much you already know. I ll be giving you a test before the training and the same test after the training. The results will show what you already know and what you have learned during the presentation. Note: Make 2 copies of the Vacuum Packaging pretest/posttest for each student. Copy on different colored paper to separate the pretest and the posttest. Ask participants to circle the word pretest. Pretest/posttest is found on the CD (Vacuum Packing folder) and in the Vacuum Packaging Activity section on this guide. Slide 4 Reduce oxygen packaging methods Advantages/risks Primary controlstemperature, types of food packaged, shelf life and sanitation Topics Back flushing Packaging Labeling HACCP Plan requirements Training Review topics in slide. Question: Any thing else that you hoped would be covered in this session today? 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 2

3 Slide 5 Learning Objectives 1. Understand the advantages and risks of vacuumpackaged foods. 2. Know what particular group of bacteria presents the greatest risk in vacuum-packaged foods and why. 3. Understand how the food safety hazards are controlled. 4. Explain the reason retailers use a shelf life for vacuum-packaged foods of no longer than 14 days while USDA manufacturers often use days. 5. Define back flushing. Give an example when backflushing would be used. 6. Know the labeling requirements for retail vacuumpackaged foods. Learning Objectives: After this training you should be able to: 1. Understand the advantages and risks of vacuum-packaged foods 2. Know what particular group of bacteria presents the greatest risk in vacuumpackaged foods and why 3. Understand how the food safety hazards are controlled 4. Explain the reason retailers use a shelf life for vacuum-packaged foods of no longer than 14 days while USDA manufacturers often use days 5. Define back-flushing. Give an example when back-flushing would be used. 6. Know the labeling requirements for retail vacuum-packaged foods Slide 6 What is Reduced Oxygen Packaging? Food in a package with less oxygen than normal When we use the term Vacuum Packaging we are really referring to a food packaging process known as Reduced Oxygen Packaging. The definition of reduced oxygen packaging is reducing the amount of oxygen in a package by mechanically evacuating the oxygen, replacing the oxygen with another gas, or otherwise controlling the oxygen content to a certain level below that which is normally found in the air. Or more simply put food in a package with less oxygen than normal. The air around us contains about 21% oxygen; the rest is carbon dioxide and nitrogen gases. When you change the atmosphere in a package of food, you change the environment in which different microbes can grow. There are advantages to this, but it also creates some different hazards as well. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 3

4 Slide 7 Reduced Oxygen Packaging (ROP) Vacuum packaging Modified Atmosphere Packaging Controlled Atmosphere Packaging Others: Cook Chill or Sous Vide An abbreviated term commonly used for Reduced Oxygen Packaging is ROP. There are several types/methods of reduced oxygen packaging. Vacuum Packaging is the method that we are most familiar with. It is reducing the amount of air from a package by pulling a vacuum and hermetically sealing it. By removing the air, you have removed the oxygen. The packaging material presents a barrier to the passage of gases and moisture. Examples are fresh meat (boxed beef and pork), lunch meats and sausage. Modified Atmosphere Packaging or MAP is a process that includes evacuating the air then back-flushing with another gas - carbon dioxide, oxygen or nitrogen and then sealing the package. These different gases, alone or in combination with each other can have different effects on the food or bacteria. Another common use for back flushing is to create a pillow effect so that soft foods are not compressed together in the packaged. A good example is sliced cheese. Another MAP process is reduction of oxygen through respiration of product or microbial action; the gas atmosphere within the package changes depending on the product inside and container permeability. Controlled Atmosphere Packaging active system that continuously maintains the desired low oxygen atmosphere within the package by using an agent to scavenge oxygen permeating the package or a sachet to emit a gas. Other examples of ROP include Cook-Chill and Sous Vide Cook-Chill is a process where a plastic bag is filled with hot cooked food, air is then expelled and bag is closed with a plastic or metal crimp. Sous Vide is a specialized process of ROP for partially cooked ingredients alone or combined with raw foods that require refrigeration or frozen storage until the package is thoroughly heated immediately before service. The sous vide process is a pasteurization step that reduces bacterial load but is not sufficient to make the food shelf stable. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 4

5 Slide 8 Slide 9 Advantages of ROP Extend shelf life Slows the growth of spoilage organisms Prevent color changes Prevent shrinkage and moisture loss What s the Hazard? Biological Hazards Pathogenic bacteria Bacteria that grow without oxygen Clostridium Listeria Spoilage microbes will not grow Less competition for other bacteria ROP creates an anaerobic or oxygen free environment inside the package that prevents the growth of most spoilage organisms. These spoilage organisms are responsible for off-odors, slime and texture changes, which are signs of spoilage. ROP can be used to prevent oxidative processes in food products. Reducing the oxygen in and around a food retards the amount of oxidative rancidity in fats and oils. ROP also prevents color deterioration in raw meats caused by oxygen. An additional effect of sealing food in ROP is the reduction of product shrinkage by preventing water loss. Food hazards are classified as physical, chemical or biological hazards. With reduced oxygen packaging, biological hazards are the main concern. Biological hazards are pathogenic bacteria and viruses that can cause food borne illness. Some bacteria grow in an anaerobic environment -that is one without oxygen. Because this is a condition that is created by ROP, there is the potential for growth of several important pathogens that are not normally found in traditional food packages. Those of primary concern are Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism, and Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria that causes listeriosis. Because the oxygen is no longer present, there is no growth of spoilage bacteria as competing organisms. The tell-tale signs signaling that the product is no longer fit for consumption will not occur. In addition, the extended shelf life allows pathogens a longer time to grow and cause foodborne illness if the ROP food is eaten. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 5

6 Slide 10 Bacteria of Concern Bacteria that grow in an environment without oxygen Clostridium botulinum Produces a toxin that is not eliminated by heat Listeria monocytogenes Grows at temperatures down to 32 F A concern in ready-to-eat foods as a result of cross contamination I just mentioned two bacteria that we are most concerned about because they grow in an environment without oxygen. Clostridium botulinum is a bacteria that, under the right growth conditions (anaerobic), produces a potent toxin that is not easily destroyed by heat and acidic conditions. All people are susceptible to the c. botulinum toxin; it is a disease that starts with nerve paralysis at the head and ends in the lungs, causing suffocation. The organism is found in dirt and fresh or salt waters all the places where our food comes from. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that grows readily at temperatures as low as 32 F. The illness, Listeriosis can range from a mild flu-like illness to something more serious, if it enters the bloodstream, resulting in meningitis or encephalitis. The risk to pregnant women, unborn babies, newborns, or anyone with a compromised immune system is even greater as the fatality rate can be 40%. This bacteria is found in soil, silage, plant materials, surface waters, and domestic farm animals again, all sources of our food. Slide 11 Primary Controls Temperature Types of Food Package Shelf Life Sanitation There are 4 primary controls for the bacterial hazards associated with reduced oxygen packaging. - Temperature - The types of food packaged - Shelf life - and Sanitation. We ll look at each of these factors in detail in the next slides. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 6

7 Slide 12 Slide 13 Keep cold at 41 F or less Minimize time out of refrigeration during processing Temperature Types of Food Packaged Retail Food Code regulations limit the types of food that can be vacuum packaged to: Raw meat or poultry (beef, pork, chicken) Hard cheese (colby, cheddar, swiss) Cured meats (sausage, ham, smoked turkey) Food with a low ph (below 4.6) or low water activity level (below.91) Fish ONLY if frozen before, during and after packaging Safe use of ROP technology demands that adequate refrigeration be maintained during the entire shelf life of potentially hazardous food to ensure product safety. The Food Code requires that all cold potentially hazardous foods be kept at a temperature of 41 F or less. And remember that since Listeria can grow at temperatures as low as 32 degrees, colder is better. Therefore, the cooler storage units should be maintained and monitored. Question: What needs to be at 41 F or colder, the food or the cooler? Answer: The food. To keep food at 41 F or colder, the cooler temperature should be at least 2 degrees colder. Check product/food temperatures to make sure the food is at or below 41 F. It is also important that the time cold food is kept out during processing is minimized so that dangerous bacteria do not have the opportunity to grow. Keeping food at 41 F or below is THE primary control measure for ROP foods. Because the botulism hazard is so serious, a barrier in addition to refrigeration is necessary to prevent the growth of pathogens. This is the reason that the MN Food Code limits the types of foods that can be vacuum packaged to foods that have multiple barriers. Adding one or more barriers will increase the minimum growth temperature for pathogenic (disease causing) microorganisms. Additional safeguards are especially important in foods with an extended shelf life such as vacuum packaged foods to inhibit growth of pathogens at refrigeration temperatures above 41 F and during times of temperature abuse during distribution, retailing and improper consumer handling. The following foods would have such barriers: Raw meat and poultry and naturally cultured cheeses have a high number of 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 7

8 competing bacteria that will limit growth of pathogens like c. botulinum. The addition of cure or nitrites to a meat product also acts as an additional barrier to pathogen growth. Foods with a low ph those with high acidity as well as those with a low water activity level or moisture, will not allow the growth of botulism toxin. Because of the especially high hazard of botulism in cooked or smoked fish products, only fish that is frozen before, during and after packaging can be packaged by a reduced oxygen method. Although manufacturing operations are allowed to package other foods by reduced oxygen methods, in retail establishments there is greater potential for cross contamination because of many operations happening in the same area. Support Materials Food Products that Can or Cannot be ROP Slide 14 Shelf Life Limit the shelf life to 14 days from day of packaging Increase in shelf life increases the risk of Listeria growth The Minnesota Food Code requires that the shelf life under refrigeration of products that are vacuum packaged in a retail store be limited to 14 days. Food manufacturing operations including USDA or state equal-to inspected meat plants are allowed an extended shelf life, often 30 days or longer. Sanitation and food handling operations are considered to be under greater control in these types of operations, thus allowing for a longer shelf life with adequate food safety. By limiting the shelf life of ROPd food, you reduce the possibility that consumers would eat a product where bacteria would have grown to a level that could make them ill. Even when retail establishments follow all required safe food handling practices, there is still potential for possible abuse by customers. When vacuum packaged foods are kept out of proper refrigerated 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 8

9 Slide 15 Developing SSOP s Written Procedures Detailed procedures for cleaning and sanitizing. A checklist of equipment to be cleaned and the frequency to be cleaned. Steps for the tear-down and re-assembly of equipment. Procedures and schedule for cleaning nonfood contact surfaces and facilities. Instructions for use of sanitation chemicals. temperatures such as during transportation or when the home refrigerator is not as cold as it should be, a possibility exists for pathogenic bacteria such as Listeria to grow. The longer a consumer waits before consuming them, the greater the likelihood the bacteria have grown to a level where the customer could become ill. Fourteen days has been established as a reasonable shelf life for products packaged under retail conditions. Developing written procedures for your sanitation program can help to make training easier. Question: Why else is it important to have written sanitation procedures? Written (Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures) SSOPs should include the following: Detailed procedures for cleaning and sanitizing the necessary steps in the process including the reasoning for doing it that way. A checklist of equipment that needs to be cleaned including how often it needs to be done, i.e. twice daily, daily. Instructions on how to break down and re-assemble equipment. Equipment can not be fully cleaned if not completely taken apart. Procedures and a schedule for cleaning non-food contact surfaces, equipment and facilities. Examples of this might be shelving, sinks, inside surfaces of coolers, rails, cooling units, overhead pipes, light fixtures, floors, walls, ceiling, carts. Instructions for the use, labeling, and safe handling of chemicals, especially sanitizers. These would be most basic items to include in written sanitation standard operating procedures. Support Materials: Sanitation Checklist 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 9

10 Sanitizing Safely, Minnesota Food Code Fact Sheet Sanitizing Module Support Materials Slide 16 Slide 17 More SSOPs Employee practices Steps for preparing and storing foods» Monitoring temperatures» Preventing cross contamination Pest Control Facility and Grounds Maintenance Flow Diagram Storage of Food and Packaging Materials Assembly and Vacuum Packaging of Foods Additional items that could be included in SSOPs are: Employee practices such as requirements for employee illness reporting, handwashing, and hygienic practices including apparel, smoking, eating, and hair covering. Steps for storing and preparing food including, monitoring temperatures and procedures to prevent cross contamination. Pest control procedures including monitoring, trapping, elimination of access to food and places to hide. Maintenance of the facility and grounds including storage of equipment, waste removal, maintenance of parking lots, weed control. Support Materials: Minnesota Food Code Specifications This is a basic flow diagram for the vacuum packaging of foods. In the next few slides, we will look at how the 4 controls fit into each step. Weigh and Label Finished Product Storage Retail Display or Cooler Storage 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 10

11 Slide 18 Storage: Foods & Packaging Materials Keep potentially hazardous food at 41 F or less. Store food to prevent cross contamination. Store packaging materials in a sanitary manner. In storage, there are several things to consider: Cooking eliminates bacteria, with the exception of those that can form spores. However, pathogens may survive in the final product if cooking is inadequate, poor quality raw materials or poor handling practices are used, or postprocess contamination occurs. Even if foods that are received in ROP have received an adequate cook step, a particular concern at retail is when employees open manufactured products and repackage them. If products in ROP are subjected to mild temperature abuse, even F at any stage during storage or distribution, foodborne pathogens can grow slowly. Marginal refrigeration that does not facilitate rapid growth may still allow some pathogens to survive for long periods of time. Keep food covered or packaged at all times to significantly reduce the possibility of being contaminated by other foods or the environment. Sausage products that are processed in-house must be cooled properly after cooking, but should be placed in covered containers or packaged as soon as possible after the product is cooled. When packaging materials like Vac Pac bags are received from the supplier, they must meet sanitary standards. Bags that have been exposed to dust or overspray from clean up could contaminate packaging with bacteria, especially Listeria. Keep packaging materials covered and stored off the floor. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 11

12 Slide 19 Assembly & Packaging Limit time out of refrigeration. Re-chill to 41 F or less. At retail, only certain foods can be vacuum packaged. As you are preparing to package the product, i.e. cutting, slicing and preparing foods, temperature is again a consideration. Extended periods of time out of refrigerated storage could allow for bacteria to grow. Only take out a limited quantity of foods at a time and return them to the cooler or place in a retail display case immediately. If the packaging operation gets interrupted for any reason, put the products back into the cooler until you resume the operation. Always be sure the vacuum packaged products are re-chilled to 41 F or less. Leave plenty of space for the cold air to circulate around the packages; if stacked too tightly food might not cool quickly enough. Another of the primary controls is the limitation on the kinds of products that can be vacuum packaged at retail. Remember the only foods that can be vacuum packaged at retail are raw meat and poultry, hard and semi soft cheeses, and any cooked or smoked meats only if they are cured. Foods that CAN NOT be vacuum packaged at retail include cooked turkey (like turkey lunch meats), cooked roast beef or pork (like products for slicing, prime rib, or shredded beef or pork), cooked sausages that do not contain cure (bratwurst), soft cheese such as brie, cheese spreads, sandwich spreads, salads, cooked or raw vegetables, or any raw or cooked fish that is not frozen. Activity: (Can this food be vacuum packaged?) Provide small squares of paper in 2 different colors to each class participant. Ask participants to hold up a certain color paper if they agree with the statement or another color if they disagree with the statements. Suggested Agree/Disagree Questions: The following foods can be vacuum-packaged in 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 12

13 Slide 20 When packaging ready-to-eat foods, limit bare hand contact. Utensils, tissues or gloves must be used. Packaging a retail food operation in Minnesota: 1. Smoked fish (Agree, only if frozen before, during or after packaging) 2. Raw pork chops (Agree) 3. Ham (Agree) 4. Colby cheese (Agree and hard cheeses cheddar, swiss) 5. Summer sausage (Agree) 6. Cooked bratwurst (Disagree, unless they have been cured) 7. Cooked roast beef (Disagree) 8. Turkey breast lunch meat (Disagree) 9. Cream cheese (Disagree) 10. Raw ground beef (Agree) 11. Baked potato (Disagree) 12. Lutefisk (Agree, if has been frozen before, during or after packaging) 13. Raw chicken (Agree) 14. Polish sausage (Agree, if they have been cured) 15. Cooked chicken (Disagree) When preparing foods for packaging and when placing the foods in the ROP bags, you must not touch the food with your bare hands. A utensil, tissues or single use gloves must be used. While single use gloves can provide a barrier to transferring bacteria onto foods, they must be used properly. Hands must be properly washed before putting gloves on and when they are removed. Gloves must be changed frequently, especially after any interruption in the process when the gloves may have become contaminated. Activity: How Germs Spread Demonstration Place some hard wrapped candies in a bowl and put some GloGerm in the bowl with the candies. Prior to the start of class place the bowl on the classroom tables. Also, place some single use gloves, a cutting board, and various utensils on the 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 13

14 table. At this place in the presentation, use a black light and examine the hands and the other items to show how the germs have spread. Discuss proper use of gloves. Note: This activity requires the use of a black light and powder which will glow. Kits can be ordered for around $ GloGerm, , GlitterBug, , Support Materials: Hand Sanitizers and Gloves, Minnesota Food Code Fact Sheet Bare Hand Contact Fact Sheet Hand Washing, Minnesota Food Code Fact Sheet Slide 21 Packaging Use the vacuum packaging machine according to manufacturers instructions. If using a gas displacement, be sure equipment is used safely and effectively. It is important to use the vacuum packaging machine according to the manufacturer s instructions and recommendations. Make the proper adjustments to the machine to allow for proper vacuum and seal time/temperature. Not pulling an adequate vacuum will change the effectiveness of the packaging and may allow other bacteria to grow. Some machines are constructed to allow a gas to be added back into packages, a process known as gas displacement or backflushing. Carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen or combinations of these gases can be added back in to the packages where the air has been evacuated. Gases used must be certified as food grade. Only stainless steel regulator valves should be used on gas cylinders and cylinders must be secured to prevent accidents. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 14

15 Slide 22 Slide 23 Designated area for ROP Separate raw from ready-to-eat Physical barrier Timing of operations Check the packages for: Tight seal Tight vacuum Packaging Packaging Materials Plastic films must be approved for ROP food packaging Different types of films can provide barriers to water, oxygen, flavors, odors Other properties: toughness, brittleness, impact resistance Because of the potential hazard of cross contamination, raw and ready to eat foods must be separated. Designate a specific area where the vacuum packaging operations are to be conducted. This includes where the machine is located, but also, where foods are prepared for packaging. If a separate area can not be designated, then the time that these two kinds of foods are prepared and packaged must be separate. For example, if the vacuum packaging machine is in the meat cutting room and raw meat cutting operations are happening, vacuum packaging of ready to eat products should not be done at that same time. After the vacuum cycle is completed visually check the packages to ensure that the seal is tight and there is no food or other material trapped in the seal. Also be sure that the package has a tight vacuum. Any faulty packages should be re-packaged immediately. Plastic films or bags used for reduced oxygen packaging must be approved for food packaging. Federal rules regulates packaging materials that may absorb into food. Different films may provide barriers to water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, flavors or odors. Other properties to consider are toughness, brittleness, and impact resistance. The science with packaging materials is constantly changing and improving; for example there are smart films that sense changes in the internal environment and adjusts accordingly and there are some with time/temperature indicators where a color change in the film to show time and temperature changes correlated with quality changes in food. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 15

16 Slide 24 Slide 25 Labeling Basic labeling requirements Statement to Keep Refrigerated or Frozen Instructions to discard if not used within 14 days of packaging Finished Product Storage ROP packaged food must be stored at 41 F or less Monitor and record the temperature in all storage units Check products daily for faulty seals, puffy packages Outdated products must be discarded Information that needs to be included on the label includes the basic label requirements; name of product, name and address including zip code of store, net weight statement and complete and detailed ingredients statement. On fresh/raw meat products, the Safe Handling Statement must be included. In addition, food ROPd at retail must also include the statements: Keep Refrigerated or Frozen. Instructions to discard the food if not consumed within 14 days of its packaging. There may be some other statements that are acceptable to the regulatory authority. Check with them. The shelf life must not be longer than 14 days from packaging to consumption or the original manufacturers sell by or use by date, whichever occurs first. Once you have vacuum packaged foods in your store, maintaining them at the proper temperature is even more critical. Again, the food must be kept at 41 F or less. Because this is such an important factor in assuring food safety a critical control point - monitor and record the temperature in all cases and coolers where you have your vacuum packaged food stored. Check the packages daily for faulty seals, and puffy packages. Some bacteria in packages could produce a gas and cause packages to swell. Any of these types of packages should be thrown away. You also need to monitor the products to ensure that no outdated products are being offered for sale. Any outdated products must also be thrown away. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 16

17 Slide 26 HACCP Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points 1. Hazard Analysis 2. Critical Control Points 3. Critical Limits 4. Monitoring 5. Corrective Actions 6. Recordkeeping 7. Verification HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. It is a preventative system for assuring the safe production of food products. There are seven steps in the HACCP process. The Food Code requires that a HACCP plan be developed and followed for foods packaged using a reduced oxygen method in a retail establishment. Step 1 is to conduct a hazard analysis looking at different factors that could affect the safety of your product. The purpose of HACCP is to identify food safety hazards not quality factors. Hazards are categorized as chemical, physical or biological hazards; only those that are reasonably likely to occur are to be considered. Once the hazards are identified, you must identify critical control points. These are steps or procedures in the process where those identified hazards can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to acceptable levels. The next step is to establish critical limits. These are a maximum or minimum value to which the hazard must be controlled at the critical control point. After the critical limit values are established, you must determine how that value will be monitored and how often it will be monitored. Corrective actions are taken when the monitoring shows that a food safety hazard is out of control at a critical control point. Record keeping procedures are important in making and keeping a HACCP system effective. Temperature logs and batch records are examples of records that demonstrate that the plan is being followed. Verification procedures help make the HACCP plan work correctly. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 17

18 Slide Critical Control Point 2. Monitoring Frequency 3. Corrective Action 4. Records 5. Verification of instruments 6. SSOPs HACCP Activity A) Calibrate thermometer B) Written procedures for how to clean C) Temperature logs D) Refrigerated storage of 41 F or less E) Check case temperature twice daily F) Discard product G) Reheat to 165 F Activity - HACCP key points for ROP Matching Exercise Key points for a HACCP plan for food vacuum-packaged in a retail store in Minnesota Answers: D 1. Critical Control Point E 2. Monitoring Frequency F, G 3. Corrective Actions C 4. Records A 5. Verification of instruments B 6. SSOPs A) calibrate thermometer B) written procedures for how to clean C) temperature logs D) refrigerated storage of 41 F or less E) check case temperature twice daily F) discard product G) reheat to 165 F Slide 28 HACCP Key Points for a ROP HACCP plan: Cold hold at 41 F or less Frequency of monitoring temps ROP food that has been temperature abused must be discarded Maintain records temperature logs Calibrate thermometers Written SSOPs Some of the key points that would be found in a HACCP plan for ROP d food include: Refrigerated or cold holding temperatures of 41 F or less likely that this would be identified as a critical control point in your HACCP plan. The frequency of monitoring those cold temperatures. The more often temperatures are checked and recorded, the better the control you have of the process and the less likely that extreme corrective actions need to be taken. The corrective actions must indicate when ROP foods must be discarded. How much temperature abuse is acceptable? Records such as temperature logs are the proof that monitoring is being done and that appropriate corrective actions are taken when necessary. Thermometers used to take temperatures must be accurate. Develop written procedures for how to calibrate them, follow those procedures at an adequate frequency and keep records that it was done. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 18

19 Good sanitation practices are the foundation of any food safety program. Having written SSOPs Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures for properly cleaned equipment and facilities, standard procedures for employee hygienic practices and other safe food handling practices helps to ensure that these activities are carried out properly. Slide 29 Training Develop a Training Program for employees responsible for the ROP operation. Items to be included: Concepts required for a safe operation Equipment and facilities Direct hand contact w/ RTE food Contents of the HACCP plan Food code regulations require a training program specifically for employees that are involved in reduced oxygen packaging operations. This training program must include: Concepts required for a safe operation. It is critical that they understand the potential food safety hazards associated with reduced oxygen packaging. These employees must understand how to operate the equipment and the importance of separating raw from readyto-eat food processes. They must also know that they must limit bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. This includes training on proper hand washing procedures and glove use. Finally, the training program should assure an understanding of the HACCP plan for the ROP operation and also the sanitation standard operating procedures. Areas to focus on include products that can be packaged, temperature control and monitoring, prevention of cross contamination, and health and personal hygiene of food handlers. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 19

20 Slide 30 Slide 31 Summary Hazards with ROP products Clostridium botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes Controls Temperature of 41 F or less Limiting the types of food packaged Shelf life maximum of 14 days Sanitation cleaning and hand contact HACCP and SSOPs Wrap-Up Do you have any questions? What information was new? How will you apply what you learned today? Posttest The most important points to remember are: There are unique biological hazards associated with foods packaged with a reduced oxygen method. The bacteria of primary concern are Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes Controls to limit or exclude these hazards are: Temperature control keeping all foods at 41 or less; Limiting the types of food that are packaged at retail; Establishing the maximum shelf life of 14 days from the date of packaging; and A rigorous sanitation program including cleaning of equipment and limiting direct hand contact. A properly written and carried out HACCP plan and SSOPs are required and will assure that the hazards are controlled and reduce the stores liability. Are there any questions?? (Answer questions.) I have a couple of questions for you: 1. What information was new today? 2. How will you apply what you learned today? Administer Posttest: Now it s time to take the posttest. Let s see what you have learned during the presentation. Note: Distribute a copy of the Vacuum Packaging pretest/posttest to each student. Ask participants to circle the word posttest. Pretest/posttest is found on the CD (Vacuum Packaging folder) and in the Vacuum Packaging Activity section. 09/04 Vacuum Packaging page 20

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