Module 4 Ham & Cooked Pork

 Save as PDF

7 Heating and cooking

Last Updated: 5 Jan 2022.

7.1 Handling of product prior to cooking

7.1.1 There shall be standard operating procedures, work instructions and process records in place for the handling of product prior to cooking.

7.1.2 Product not cooked immediately shall be held in chilled storage at -2°C to +2 °C or deep chilled. 

7.1.3 Where precooked storage is carried out, the process shall be subjected to shelf-life verification under worst case conditions that includes sensory evaluation and microbiological quality of the finished product.

7.1.4 Product to be deep chilled shall be suitably packaged, date marked, and carry sufficient information to allow traceability. 


The storage facilities shall be capable of maintaining the temperature within specification. Monitoring of temperatures shall be undertaken and details recorded.

The packaging shall be appropriate for its intended purpose.


Examples of temperature monitoring records. Validation of shelf-life data where product is stored precooked or deep chill.

Visual inspection to verify the integrity of the packaging, date coding and traceability information on the product.

7.2 The cooking process

7.2.1 Detailed standard operating procedures, work instructions and process records shall be maintained and documented for the cooking process. 

7.2.2 The cooking process shall be such that the time/temperature achieved at the core is equivalent to a minimum of 2 minutes at +70°C. 

7.2.3 Different types of cooking systems may be used, but these shall comply with the process validation and verification requirements specified within the site’s HACCP plan.


It is recognised that there shall be a range of different types of cooking systems e.g. traditional cooking chamber, travelling ovens or cooking by micro wave. Whichever system is used, the equipment shall have been validated to a documented protocol. It is expected that protocol shall have been verified at the time of the BRC audit.

Various factors shall influence the rate at which micro-organisms are killed during the cooking and how many survive this process including the time/temperature relationship, the concentration of salt and of curing salts where relevant) in the product and the initial microbial load on the product when cooked.

Cooking profiles shall be in place to demonstrate the controls necessary for product safety. The initial microbial load on the uncooked product shall also fall within the limits set out when determining the shelf life of the final product. These requirements shall have been fully laid out when the durability of the cooked product was determined and shall be available for evaluation. 


Review procedures, work instructions and examples off cooking process records since the last audit. 

7.3 Cooking systems

7.3.1 Where static cooking chambers are used, the core and chamber temperature of the product shall be measured and recorded throughout the cooking period.

7.3.2 Where other forms of heating/cooking equipment are used (travelling ovens), the validation of the process shall be based on specified time/temperature requirements. 


During the development of the cooking profiles and the capabilities of the cooker being used, the profiles developed shall have considered the potential temperature ranges within the cooker (hot and cold spots). It is advisable when cooking batches, to select product from within a narrow a weight band as is practically possible. Accurate records of cooking shall be held. Cookers invariably have continuous recording of the cooking programme appropriate to the product being cooked.


Review cooking profiles and examples of cooking records since the last audit.

7.4 Measuring & recording cooking & storage temperatures

7.4.1 Where product is being cooked, then prior to release from the cooking chamber, the core temperature of the product shall be measured and recorded either by cooker probe and/or manually at the top, middle and bottom of each rack. All product temperature readings shall be equal to or greater than the minimum core temperature specified within the standard operating procedures and work instruction and cross-reference to the sites HACCP plan.

7.4.2 Cooked product shall be stored at between -2°C and +5°C.

7.4.3 To allow traceability of the cooking process each batch of cooked product shall be clearly identified with date and time of cooking and details of cooker and product temperature achieved.


Records of core temperature measurements taken as part of clause 7.4.1 shall form part of the cooking profiles and routine monitoring of the cooking programme. This shall be supported by in-situ temperature monitoring probes (where applicable).

The traceability of the cooking process and each batch of cooked product shall be supported by accurate record keeping including traceability of product.


Copies of cooking profiles and examples of completed cooking records. (Note: Verification of the temperature monitoring equipment shall be covered at the time of the BRC GFS audit. Review HACCP.)

Cooking and temperature control records covering the period since the last audit.

7.5 Roasting & other post-cooking operations

7.5.1 Detailed standard operating procedures, work instructions and process records shall be maintained.

7.5.2 Where cooking is followed by a period of roasting, the roasting phase shall be carried out before the surface temperature of the product falls below +60°C. Failing this, the product shall be cooled to less than +5°C prior to the roasting operation taking place. 

7.5.3 Where product is smoked, garnished, glazed or crumbed, this shall be carried out in a way that does not compromise the safety of the product. 


The process shall ensure that food safety and/or quality is not compromised. The storage facilities shall be capable of cooling the product within specification. Appropriate record keeping shall be maintained. See FSA guidance on the definition of roasting.


Production and temperature control records. Visual inspection of process and align to requirements laid down in procedures and workinstructions. Examples of processing records since the last audit.

7.6 Cooling of cooked product

7.6.1 Detailed standard operating procedures, work instructions and process records shall be maintained and documented for the cooling process. The procedures shall detail the time/temperature requirements and cross reference to the sites HACCP plan.

7.6.2 Cooked product shall be cooled rapidly after cooking to ensure that the safety of the product is not compromised. If the product is more than 5kg, it shall achieve a core temperature of +5°C or lower in accordance with Campden BRI Guidelines (Review 8) on ‘Identification and Prevention of Hazards associated with Slow Cooling of Hams and Other Large Cooked Meats and Meat Products’. If the product is less than 5kg, 4 hours shall be the maximum time permitted to reach less than +5°C.

7.6.3 Product which has been cooked without cover shall be cooled in chilled air.

7.6.4 Product cooked in sealed containers/ casings/ bags may be cooled in chilled air or by a combination of cold water spraying followed by chilled air or brine and may be held in these containers until required for further processing or packing.


Documented procedures shall be in place to ensure product safety is not compromised and be supported by evidence of temperature monitoring and recording.


Review procedures, work instructions and cooling process records.

7.7 Smoking (pre or post-cook)

7.7.1 For smoked ham and cooked pork, only natural wood smoke shall be used in the smoking process. Synthetic smoke mixtures and extracts of wood smoke shall not be used.

7.7.2 Care shall be taken to ensure that the product is uniformly smoked in compliance to the process specification (time and temperature of smoking) and quality attribute specification (colour and taste) and free from tar contamination.


A variety of wood types can be used (oak, beech, Applewood etc) – scented/resinous woods are to be avoided due to their tendency to tar. Product may be hung on racks or hooks but shall not touch walls or other product that may impede the circulation of smoke around the chamber. Any covering used e.g. bags, netting etc. shall be suitable for intended use. The smoke chamber and racks shall be kept clean.


Copy of current wood specifications and review examples of completed processing records. Visual inspection of smoke chamber. Review process specification, QAS and examples of quality control records.

7.8 Post-cook handling

7.8.1 The site shall have detailed standard operating procedures, work instructions and process records in place to ensure product safety and quality is not compromised during post cook handling.

7.8.2 Product shall be chilled between 0°C to +5°C and stored at this temperature.

7.8.3 Subsequent processing operations shall be performed with no detriment to the product

7.8.4 Product containing exposed bone shall be adequately protected to ensure pack integrity

7.8.5 All finished chilled product shall be held at a temperature no higher than +5°C, before despatch.


To avoid any potential rise in the product temperature during handling, the volume of product being processed at any one time shall be closely aligned to the number of production staff and production plans. The temperature of the environment and product shall be monitored throughout the process. 


Product temperature records that cover the period since the last audit. Visual inspection of product to verify butchery operations. Visual inspection of finished product containing exposed bone. Examples of temperature control records (air and product) since the last audit.