Module 5 Quality Assured Pork Sausages

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8 Cold store and vehicle operating procedures

Last Updated: 6 Jan 2022.

8.1 Reception into external cold store

8.1.1 The cold store shall have standard operating procedures and inspection records for the reception, assessment, temperature monitoring (not required for ambient stable raw materials like dehydrated rind or salt preserved natural casings), and the action to be taken if requirements are not meet for all pork (including fat) and bacon deliveries to the site. 

8.1.2 When placed in the transport vehicles, pork and bacon raw material shall be either hung on clean well-maintained stands/hooks or supplied in covered, clean, intact containers, cartons or trays that pose no risk of contamination to the contents. 

8.1.3 All raw material supplied to the site shall be transported on clean, well-maintained vehicles that pose no risk of product contamination. Where it is relevant, the vehicle shall be temperature controlled.

8.1.4 Each consignment of raw material shall be examined on arrival to ensure that it is compliant with specification, free from contamination and indications of spoilage. The assured status and traceability back to source shall be 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.


Review of documented procedure. Visual inspection of the incoming material. Completed intake records. Checks on the integrity of packaging (where applicable) and assured nature of the raw material being used

8.2 Temperature during transport

8.2.1 The doors of the delivery vehicle shall remain closed up to the point when the raw material temperature is being checked.

8.2.2 During transportation and on arrival at the cold store the temperature of the chilled pork or bacon raw material shall not fall outside of the range of -2°C to +5°C.

8.2.3 Unless bacon is received in a tempered form ready for slicing (typically -8°C), 

the target temperature of frozen pork or bacon raw material shall be -18°C or less during transport and it shall not exceed -12°C at intake.

8.2.4 Dehydrated rind and salt preserved natural casings shall be delivered in the conditions stated in the raw material specifications.


Verification is normally undertaken whilst the product is on the delivery vehicle and at different points within the storage unit of the transporter.

Further verification shall be sought by checking the temperature recording instrument of the vehicle.


Verification of inspection records, temperature records during transport and at point of receipt and specifications for handling/storage conditions for dehydrated rind and natural casings .

8.3 Temperature during storage

8.3.1 The storage area shall, under maximum load, maintain product temperatures within specification 

8.3.2 The temperature of chilled pork raw material during storage shall be -2°C to +5°C. 

8.3.3 The temperature of chilled meat preparations during storage shall be between -2°C to +4°C. 

8.3.4 The temperature of frozen pork raw material during storage shall be -18°C or colder.

8.3.5 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

8.3.6 All pork/bacon raw material shall maintain identify, its assured status, kill date (pork only), 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 8.3.1 records of temperature monitoring system at maximum load
  • Clause 8.3.2 and 8.3.5 examples of temperature control records since the last audit
  • Clause 8.3.3 review validation procedure
  • Clause 8.3.4 review documented protocol aligned tor the tempering process

8.4 Freezing pork raw material

8.4.1 Pork raw material shall be labelled with a date of kill and not exceed kill +4 days at point of freezing. 

8.4.2 The pork/bacon raw material and bacon shall be in good condition at the time of freezing and be effectively packaged to prevent contamination and degradation of quality. 

8.4.3 Pork/bacon raw material to be frozen shall be placed into a freezer immediately following receipt.

8.4.4 Frozen pork/bacon shall be labelled with a date of kill (pork only), date of freezing, durability date and it shall not be stored for longer than 12 months.

8.4.5 Where frozen product is to be defrosted (tempered) the surface temperature shall not exceed +7°C and it shall be carried out to a documented and validated procedure in line with the charter participant’s processing specification.

8.4.6 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.

8.5 Cold store operating procedures

The cold store shall have standard operating procedures in place for the control (quantity, durability & 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.

8.6 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. 

8.7 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:

8.7.1 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.

8.7.2 These audits shall be carried out by someone competent and independent of the cold store operation. 

8.7.3 Traceability and mass balance checks of the raw material back to intake shall be undertaken in alternate months to check that the materials in the cold store comply with the requirements of the pork charter. 

8.7.4 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 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.

8.8 Labelling for reception, storage & despatch

Each batch of pork to be used as a raw material for the manufacture of any BMPA Quality Pork Charter products shall be marked or labelled with the following as a minimum requirement on reception, storage and despatch:

  • Site identification code (health mark)
  • 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 date or use by date. FSA guidance on Use By/Best Before coding + guidance on date coding associated with C Bot control.
  • Kill date (where applicable)


The labelling requirement covers pork raw material and sausages for further processing. 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.