Module 3 Bacon & Gammon
11 Cold store and vehicle operating procedures
Last Updated: 7 Jan 2022.
11.1 Reception into external cold store
11.1.1 The cold store shall have standard operating procedures and inspection records for the reception, assessment, temperature monitoring and details of the action to be taken if requirements are not met for all pork deliveries.
11.1.2 During transport, pork raw material, bacon and/or gammon shall be covered in clean, intact containers, cartons or trays that pose no risk of contamination to the contents.
11.1.3 Pork raw material, bacon and/or gammon shall be transported on clean, well-maintained temperature-controlled vehicles that pose no risk of product contamination.
11.1.4 Each consignment of pork raw material, bacon and/or gammon shall be examined on arrival to ensure that it is compliant with specification, free from contamination and indications of spoilage and that assured status and traceability back to source has been maintained.
If product is not being received at the time of the audit, verification shall be sought by talking to key personnel to confirm the system for the transport of product. Verification of the cleanliness may be taken by examining the cleanliness of any deliveries in the intake chill or associated area.
Packaging shall be appropriate to the product being delivered. E.g. naked product delivered in dolavs/shrouded (liners). Vacuum packed product in boxes or containers.
Documented procedure aligned to 10.1.1 a). Visual inspection of interior of transport, condition of storage containers for product, integrity of packaging (where applicable). Examples of intake records since the last audit.
11.2 Temperature during transport
11.2.1 The doors of the delivery vehicle shall remain closed to the point when the pork raw material, bacon and/or gammon temperature is being checked.
11.2.2 During transport and on arrival the temperature of chilled pork raw material and bacon shall not fall outside of the range of -2°C to +5°C.
11.2.3 The target temperature of frozen pork raw material and bacon shall be -18°C or less during transport and shall not exceed -12°C at intake. Bacon may only exceed -12°C at intake when received in a tempered from ready for slicing (typically – 8°C).
Verification is normally undertaken whilst the product is on the delivery vehicle and at different points within the storage unit of the transporter.
Verification shall be sought by checking the temperature recording instrument of the vehicle.
Verification of product temperature records during transport and at point of receipt since the last audit.
11.3 Temperature during storage
11.3.1 The storage area shall, under maximum load, maintain product temperatures within specification
11.3.2 The temperature of chilled pork raw material, bacon and/or gammon during storage shall be -2°C to +5°C.
11.3.3 The temperature of chilled meat preparations such as sausage or meat-based stuffing during storage shall be between -2°C to +4°C.
11.3.4 The temperature of frozen pork raw material, bacon and/or gammon during storage shall be -18°C or colder, except where tempering in preparation for slicing and packing is taking place in which case a product temperature of -3°C to -8°C would be acceptable
11.3.5 Where deep chilled storage is carried out, the standard operating procedure shall clearly state the minimum and maximum storage/meat temperature, and the action to be taken if this cannot be maintained
11.3.6 All pork raw material (carcase or cuts) shall maintain identify, its assured status, kill date, and durability date throughout storage.
The storage area may be equipped with auto door closure, air or strip curtains to minimise ingress of warm air during stock transfers.
Dependent on the process e.g. cold storage or tempering the refrigeration temperature may be set to a target temperature to allow for temperature fluctuations caused by defrost cycles, doors opening during stock transfer etc.
The following shall be verified:
- Clause 10.2.1 a) records of temperature monitoring system at maximum load
- Clause 10.2.1 b) and e) examples of temperature control records since the last audit
- Clause 10.2.1 c) review validation procedure
- Clause 10.2.1 d) review documented protocol aligned tor the tempering process
FSA guidance on Use By/Best Before codes
11.4 Freezing pork raw material
11.4.1 Pork raw material shall be labelled with a date of kill and it shall not exceed kill + 4 days at point of freezing.
11.4.2 The pork raw material and bacon shall be in good condition at the time of freezing and shall be effectively packaged to prevent contamination and degradation of quality.
11.4.3 Pork raw material and bacon to be frozen shall be placed into a freezer immediately following receipt.
11.4.4 Frozen pork and bacon shall be labelled with the date of freezing and a durability date that does not exceed 12 months.
11.4.5 Where frozen product is to be defrosted (tempered), it shall be carried out to a documented and validated procedure in line with the Charter participant’s processing specification.
11.4.6 Stock control and defrost records shall be maintained.
The integrity of the packaging shall be appropriate for the product. The site may have procedures in place for the control of stock and this shall be supported by stock control checks.
Visual inspection of storage area to verify integrity of packaging. Verification of product labelling in storage. Review documented protocol for tempering process. Examples of stock control and temperature control records since the last audit.
11.5 Cold store operating procedures
The cold store shall have standard operating procedures in place for the control (quantity, durability and location) of stock.
Examples of stock control checks since the last audit. Verification of the process for the movement and stock control of product on site.
11.6 Cold store risk assessment
Charter participants shall carry out a risk assessment of the cold store to verify that the traceability systems and procedures are robust and effective for the identification, stock rotation, handling and traceability of all materials received by the cold store.
The labelling of pork material shall clearly indicate that the pork material is assured, and the product is traceable to point of intake at the cold store.
Copy of risk assessment undertaken. Discussion with key site personnel to confirm the systems for the identification, traceability and segregation of assured and non-assured product.
Review sites documented procedures and their appropriateness.
11.7 Cold store traceability system
Charter participants shall ensure that the cold store traceability system is independently monitored on a regular basis. The following points clarify the requirements:
11.7.1 These audits shall be undertaken by the Charter participant and may be an extension to the scope of the monthly traceability and mass balance checks undertaken at the participant’s site.
11.7.2 These audits shall be carried out by someone competent and independent of the cold store operation.
11.7.3 Traceability and mass balance audits of the pork material back to intake shall be undertaken in alternate months to check that the assured pork materials in the cold store comply with the requirements of the Quality Pork Charter.
11.7.4 Documentary evidence containing a summary of each traceability and mass balance check undertaken shall be made available to the service provider to demonstrate that the requirements of the Quality Pork Charter are being met.
At the time of the announced surveillance audit, the service provider shall undertake a mass balance exercise and challenge simultaneously the robustness and effectiveness of the traceability systems and procedures at the cold store. The service provider shall record the details from a specific batch of assured material received from the cold store at the processing site, establish the size of the batch and systematically challenge the mass balance, verifying the ‘road map’ e.g. volumes despatched/received and destination.
Consideration shall be given to any remaining batches/volumes still held in stock at the cold store and whether the volumes reconcile with the original quantities despatched/received at the processing site. It is expected that the Charter participant shall have developed appropriate procedures to assist the independent auditor in undertaking the traceability exercise at the cold store.
The verification of the traceability exercise shall include all the process steps at the cold store including associated delivery and despatch documentation. The procedure shall detail the administration that shall be used to carry out the traceability exercise and the documentation to be collated. The procedure shall detail the system for the management of non-conformances that may arise.
Copies of the traceability and mass balance exercises. Non-conformance reports to include root cause analysis, corrective action and monitoring.
11.8 Labelling for reception, storage & despatch
Each batch of pork to be used as a raw material for the manufacture of any BMPA Quality Assured Bacon and Gammon products shall be marked or labelled with the following as a minimum requirement on reception, storage and despatch:
- Site identification code (health mark) – Charter participant’s site licence number
- Product description – e.g. rindless bellies
- Weight – The number of units may also be indicated
- Traceability batch code – In most cases the traceability batch code is the kill date however, where a production date is used, the information shall be able to trace the product backwards to a kill date. Slaughter code may be in ‘Julian’ calendar format or the actual kill date may be shown.
- Confirmation of assured status – The lettering BQAP may be used to confirm the products’ assured status to relate to the product within the container/box. Non-eligible material shall not be packed within the same dolav, container or box
- Country of birth, rearing and slaughter or statement of pigs’ origin – Where pigs are born, reared and slaughtered in one country, a single statement of origin is sufficient for the traceability declaration.
- Date of freezing on all frozen raw material
- Process-by or use by date – FSA guidance on Use By/Best Before codes
The labelling requirement covers pork raw material and bacon. Whether the product is being transported in dolav, rigid container or as boxed, the labelling information shallremain attached to the unit.
Verification of labelling or markings.