Sanitation standard operating procedure in the meat and poultry food manufacturing plant

Maintaining a high level of cleanliness and controlling pathogenic bacteria growth are frequent challenges within the meat and poultry industry.


Courtesy: Spirax SarcoProper sanitation and cleanliness within meat and poultry processing plants is of high importance for the food industry. Illnesses resulting from the consumption of contaminated food are a significant public health issue in the United States. Maintaining a high level of cleanliness and controlling pathogenic bacteria growth are frequent challenges within the meat and poultry industry. Establishing and performing basic and effective ground rules for sanitation and cleaning practices in the food manufacturing environment enhances the food processing plant’s cleanliness and sanitation.

On Jan. 27, 1997, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) mandated sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs) to be developed by processing plants for meat and poultry operations.

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Animal and Animal Products, Part 416.12(a), Development of Sanitation SOP’s:

    The Sanitation SOP’s shall describe all procedures an official establishment will conduct daily, before and during operations, sufficient to prevent direct contamination or adulteration of product(s).

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), an agency of the USDA, is a public health regulatory agency obligated with ensuring that the United States supply of meat, poultry, and egg products are safe for consumers. The FSIS strategy builds the foundation for sanitation and cleaning practices in the food processing production. The FSIS improves the safety of meat and poultry products from the beginning to the end of the production process; from slaughter to labeling for the market.

When plant managers develop SSOPs, the plant’s good manufacturing practices (GMPs) should be taken into account. The written SSOP should demonstrate knowledge and commitment to sanitation, production of safe meat and poultry products, and detail pre-operational and during operational daily sanitation procedures. An appointed plant employee(s) will monitor and document adherence to the SSOP along with corrective actions taken to prevent direct product contamination or pathogenic bacteria growth. Pre-operational sanitation monitoring evaluates and documents effective cleaning of all direct product contact used at the start of production. Operational sanitation monitoring evaluates and documents would include actions identifying and correcting any occurrence of direct product contamination from environmental sources (facilities, equipment, pests, etc.) or plant employee practices.

Courtesy: Spirax Sarco

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Animal and Animal Products, Part 416.14, Maintenance of Sanitation SOP’s:

    Each official establishment shall routinely evaluate the effectiveness of the Sanitation SOP’s and the procedures therein in preventing direct contamination or adulteration of product(s) and shall revise both as necessary to keep them effective and current with respect to changes in facilities, equipment, utensils, operations, or personnel.

The outcome is a sanitary environment for processing, storing or handling any meat or poultry food. All facility records of pre-operational and operational sanitation monitoring, including corrective actions to noncompliance, are to be maintained (on-site after completion for forty-eight hours and records be made available to FSIS employees within 24 hours of request if maintained off-site)by the processing plant for at least six months.

    Employee training is equally important as the food manufacturing plant SSOP documents. Food manufacturing plant sanitation policies become a routine when all employees are educated and trained on the sanitation policies within the company. Employees begin to have ownership of their work station and continue to make improvements to the SSOP and to the food processing plant overall.

Jahaira Lebron is the product market manager at Spirax Sarco. Content provided by Spirax Sarco, originally published in Steam News MagazineSource: United States Government Printing Office. Web. 9 CFR Ch.III (1-1-12 Edition). Web. 30 Nov. 2012.

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