3.4.1. Critical Control Points
The Codex guidelines define a critical control point (CCP) as "a step at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level" (see Notes 1 and 4).
Prior to determining the CCPs, a review should be conducted to verify whether any of the identified hazards are fully controlled by the application of the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, good manufacturing practices (GMPs), or good hygienic practices (GHPs) (Table 13).
The decision tree consists of a systematic series of four questions designed to assess objectively whether a CCP is required to control the identified hazard at a specific operation of the process.
Question 1: Do control measure(s) exist?
Question 2: Is the step specifically designed to eliminate or reduce the likely occurrence of the identified hazard to an acceptable level?
Question 3: Could contamination with the identified hazard occur in excess of acceptable levels or increase to unacceptable levels?
Question 4: Will a subsequent step eliminate the identified hazard or reduce likely occurrence to an acceptable level?
CCPs should be identified numerically with a category qualifier B, P, or C for biological, physical, or chemical. For example, if the first CCP identified will control a biological hazard, it is recorded as CCP-1 (B). If the second CCP identified will control a chemical hazard, it is recorded as CCP-2 (C). If the fifth CCP will control both a biological and a chemical hazard at the same processing operation, it is recorded as CCP-5 (BC). For hazards fully controlled by application of the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, write "GMP/GHP" (Tables 14 and 15).
Once the CCPs have been established, the next step is to report the CCPs and to document on the same form the parameters that will be monitored and controlled (Table 16).
Any hazards previously unaddressed are handled as shown in Table 17. 3.5. Establish Critical Limits for Each Critical Control Point (Principle 3)
At each CCP, critical limits are established and specified. A critical limit represents the boundaries that are used to judge whether an operation is producing safe products. Critical limits may be set for factors such as temperature, time (minimum time exposure), physical product dimensions, water activity, moisture level, and others. These parameters, if maintained within boundaries, will confirm the safety of the product. It is essential that the person(s) responsible for establishing critical limits have a knowledge of the process and of the legal and commercial standards required for the product (45,46).
• An acidified beverage that requires a hot fill and hold as the thermal process may have acid addition as the CCP. If insufficient acid is added or if the temperature of the hot fill is insufficient, the product would be underprocessed, with potential for the growth of pathogenic spore-forming bacteria. The critical limits in this case would apply to pH and fill temperature.
Hazard Identification: Biological Hazards Product Name(s): Canned mushrooms
List all biological hazards related to ingredients, incoming material, processing, product flow, etc.
Identified biological hazards
Could contain C. botulinum or other pathogenic organisms, yeast, or molds Dry ingredients
Could contain bacterial spores Could contain rodent excrement
Could contain coliform or spore-forming bacteria or other microorganisms Empty cans/ends
Could arrive with serious internal double seam or body plate defects, which could result in leakage causing post-process contamination Could arrive with serious external double seam, body plate, or lacquer/ coating defects or damage, which could result in leakage causing post-process contamination Process Steps0
5. Refrigerated mushroom storing
Improper storage temperature and humidity could result in increase of bacterial load Can/end storing
Physical damage could result in serious double seam defects, which could result in postprocess contamination with pathogenic bacteria Could be contaminated with rodent excrement Dry ingredient storing
Could be contaminated with rodent excrement Can depalletizing/inspection
Incorrect cans, physical damage, or serious visible defects could result in leakage and postprocess contamination with pathogenic bacteria Mushroom blanching
Improper cleaning of the blancher could result in the growth of thermophilic bacteria in mushrooms
Inadequate blanching could result in insufficient removal of gases, which could cause stress on double seams and perforations and lead to postprocess contamination with pathogenic bacteria
Excessive blanching could result in textural changes to the mushrooms, which could result in inadequate thermal processing Can conveying
Physical damage could result in the formation of defective double seams, which could lead to postprocess contamination with pathogenic bacteria Weighing
Overfilled cans not properly rejected for overweight could be underprocessed
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