Hello all. I have been a lurker on these forums for some time but I decided to post and see if any of you have some input on a HACCP plan I am working on. First a bit of background. I am consulting for a small Co-packing facility that is looking to get approval from the USDA to begin receiving large totes of jerky and then package it into smaller retail packages.
The question I have is that with prerequisite programs in place including approved suppliers (which in this case is also the customer of the co-packer) the risk is very low. The product goes through no equipment, it is segregated from allergens. The only concern is when the tote is open exposing the product to the environment and the employees wearing gloves transfer it to smaller bags before sealing.
It is this step that is the CCP but the question I have is how best to monitor and control this. At the moment I have two thoughts.
1. Place all product on hold and collect samples of retail sized bags throughout the lot and have them sent to a lab and tested for water activity. If below 0.85 release product to customer, if above follow deviation program.
2. Same as above but sample for L. monocytogenes. I would rather only rely on this as an occasional verification of the HACCP plan and would prefer to rely on the water activity and good prerequisite programs.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say. The issue I have been running into with my conversations with the USDA is that since this falls into the Heat Treated, Shelf Stable category they are looking at is more like a jerky processor as opposed to this company just receiving the RTE jerky and packaging it.
Thanks in advance.