Module 5 Quality Assured Pork Sausages

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4 Processing standards

Last Updated: 6 Jan 2022.

4.1 Standard operating procedures (general)

4.1.1 All, standard operating procedures work instructions, quality attribute specifications (QAS), in-house ‘mini specifications’ and finished product specifications shall be specific to the product type being manufactured. Relevant staff shall be trained against these.

4.1.2 The in-house ‘mini specification’ shall be developed in line with the QAS specified in clause 7.1.1 and provide by using words, measurements and/or photographs, specific quality attributes that clearly define acceptable and unacceptable key attributes for each finished product approved by the BMPA Quality Assured Pork Sausage module.

4.1.3 The ‘mini specification’ shall be prominently displayed at appropriate points of the production line to assist staff with quality monitoring and compliance.

4.1.4 A documented check shall be carried out on each production run of finished product to verify that the quality standards are being achieved.

4.1.5 Where there is evidence of attribute failure, the site shall investigate root cause and implement corrective action to minimise/prevent the issue from re-occurring. 


The ‘mini specification’ is a short version of specific key quality attributes from the QAS displayed on the manufacturing line.


Visual inspection of butchery and finished product standards at point of production. Review ‘mini specification’ and verification that the quality attributes are aligned to those detailed in the QAS and checking that the ‘mini specification’ displayed corresponds to the product going down the packing line at the time of the audit.

4.2 Standard operating procedures for mixing, filling & packing

There shall be standard operating procedures, recipes, work instructions and process records for the mixing, filling and packing operation.


Each recipe shall be supported by appropriate work instructions, the exception to this being where the methodology is similar across a range of product types. The work instructions shall include the following but not exhaustive:

  • type of mincing plate to be used (the diameter of the holes)
  • the number of times the raw product may be minced prior to further processing
  • quantity of ingredients to be used in each batch
  • blending and/or chopping times and speed where applicable


Copies of recipes and work instructions. Examples of completed processing and traceability records since the last audit.

4.3 Temperature during preparation of sausages

4.3.1 Documented in-process checks shall be undertaken to monitor the product temperature up to the point of packing.

4.3.2 During the preparation of sausage, it is possible that due to mincing, mixing, chopping and filling that the mix temperature may exceed +7°C. Where this occurs, the finished product shall be chilled to <4°C within 4 hours of being placed into final packaging.


Appropriate recipes and work instructions shall be in place and detail the required criteria for the range of sausages produced on site. 

Where products are expected to have high meat content, for example in a Cumberland pork sausage compared to a standard pork sausage this may cause an increase in the product temperature during processing. Whilst the legal maximum temperature limit for a meat preparation is +7°C, some flexibility may be reflected by the approach taken by the auditor. If the product temperature was still at higher than 4°C 4hours after final packing, then this shall be viewed as a minor non-conformance. However, if there is evidence of widespread temperature abuse, a major non-conformance shall be considered. The use of ice, CO2 or nitrogen to control process temperature is acceptable.


In-process and finished product storage temperature records since the last audit.

4.4 Filling procedures

4.4.1 Filling procedures shall ensure that the required quantity and quality criteria specified in the processing method and quality attribute sheet are achieved.

4.4.2 When filling, either natural, collagen, or alginate casings may be used but the type shall be clearly specified within the manufacturing specification or processing recipe.

4.4.3 All casings shall be used within their durability date and traceable back to the originating batch/lot number.

4.4.4 Where natural casings are used there shall be a documented standard operating procedure in place for salt/brine removal prior to use.

4.4.5 Where natural casings are used, the species of casing used shall be declared on the final product.


The production of skinless sausage is permitted within the module. Where natural casings are used there is no requirement for the casing to be assured and may be of non-UK origin e.g. sheep casings from New Zealand. Irrespective of the type of casing used. 


Traceability records for casings used and check label for casing declaration.

4.5 Temperature during storage for sausages

4.5.1 Chilled sausage meat preparations shall be held at a temperature no higher than 4°C and pigs in blankets will also be at the same temperature of 4°C before despatch.

4.5.2 Where finished product is to be frozen prior to despatch it shall be stored at -18°C or less.


Examples of temperature control records (air and product) since the last audit.