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Industry Perspectives on the Use of Microbial Data for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Validation and Verification

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Microbial testing is an essential element in validation of critical limits identified within a hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) plan. Without appropriate validation there is no assurance that the plan will control the hazards of concern. Once critical control points have been validated to effectively prevent, reduce, or eliminate hazards, application of routine testing for pathogens in finished product becomes an ineffective means to assure process control and therefore safety of the product. The occurrence of a pathogen in a product produced under an effective HACCP plan is so rare that sampling protocols are not capable of finding the needle in the haystack. Quantitative indicators can provide a much more effective tool for verifying that HACCP is properly implemented. Choice of appropriate indicators is product and process specific. In certain applications, finished product testing for even indicator organisms provides no meaningful data for verification of HACCP (e.g., canned products). Tests chosen should provide meaningful information that directs resources toward prevention and improvement of the system.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Pillsbury Company, 737 Pelham Boulevard, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55114, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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