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Risk zone determination - BRC Food

pasteurization crab BRC Risk zone Decision tree cooking temperature

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#1 tharinduth

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 04:37 PM

Dear all,

 

Currently I am trying to implement BRC Food Issue 8 for pasteurized crab meat product which is a ready to eat product. The scope is "Processing of pasteurized crab meat packed in metal can". During the risk zone determination using the decision tree, I had a doubt. The simple process flow is as follow;

 

1. Receiving of cooked crab meat in sealed container under chilled condition (less than 4 degree Celsius) 

2. Open the original container and graded the product. (Open product area)

3. Filling in metal can and seaming.

4. Pasteurization (85 degree Celsius for 152 min)

5. Immediate cooling down to 4 degree Celsius.

6. Finished good storage less than 4 degree Celsius.

 

The doubt is whether the open product area (second step) is categorized under high risk area or low risk area. Please help with your justifications.

 

Thank you in advance. 



#2 The Food Scientist

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 07:40 PM

Not a BRC user but....

 

You do have a cooking/kill step (pasteurization) right after exposing the product, so I would consider it low risk. Just like Raw meat is not considered high risk because it undergoes cook/kill step. However, exposed "cooked/RTE" is considered high risk and should have controls to ensure no contamination or RE-contamination occurs which here is your pasteurization temperatures, cooling down temperatures and storage temperatures.


Edited by The Food Scientist, 06 November 2019 - 07:46 PM.

Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


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#3 pHruit

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 07:56 PM

My reading of the relevant Appendix in the standard is that this step would fall into the low risk category.

From the first part of the description in the standard:

The significance to human health of microbiological contamination in low-risk areas is reduced because the products either:

  • do not support the growth of pathogens (either intrinsically or by design of the product) or the survival of pathogens, which could subsequently grow during the normal storage or use of the product
  • are designed to undergo a later kill step that ensure the product is safe to eat

Your process seems to unequivocally sit in the latter category.

 

Similarly from the examples it gives:

Products manufactured in this area include the following:

Products that are processed within the final container (e.g. canned)

 

Given that you are producing a canned product your process at the opening/grading step would again seem to fall squarely into the low risk category.



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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 09:12 AM

Why do you need 85degC (presumed uniform core temperature) at 152 mins to pasteurize ?


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Charles.C


#5 tharinduth

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 01:47 PM

Why do you need 85degC (presumed uniform core temperature) at 152 mins to pasteurize ?

 

Hi, 

 

This value is based on the validation done by John Bean Technologies in Thailand. Is it affecting to the risk zone determination? 



#6 tharinduth

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 01:50 PM

My reading of the relevant Appendix in the standard is that this step would fall into the low risk category.

From the first part of the description in the standard:

The significance to human health of microbiological contamination in low-risk areas is reduced because the products either:

  • do not support the growth of pathogens (either intrinsically or by design of the product) or the survival of pathogens, which could subsequently grow during the normal storage or use of the product
  • are designed to undergo a later kill step that ensure the product is safe to eat

Your process seems to unequivocally sit in the latter category.

 

Similarly from the examples it gives:

Products manufactured in this area include the following:

Products that are processed within the final container (e.g. canned)

 

Given that you are producing a canned product your process at the opening/grading step would again seem to fall squarely into the low risk category.

 

Hi,

 

Thanks for the reply. I had the same thing in my mind. But the problem is, if we store that product at ambient temperature after the pasteurization product, there is a possibility of activation of botulinum toxin. Even though none of pathogens are survived or introduced to the final product, I think we have to consider about the toxin as a critical chemical hazard. So again I am on 1st page.



#7 pHruit

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 02:01 PM

Hi,

 

Thanks for the reply. I had the same thing in my mind. But the problem is, if we store that product at ambient temperature after the pasteurization product, there is a possibility of activation of botulinum toxin. Even though none of pathogens are survived or introduced to the final product, I think we have to consider about the toxin as a critical chemical hazard. So again I am on 1st page.

 

That doesn't impact on BRC's view of the risk of the particular zone/stage (which is arguably separate to the inherent risk level of the product) - you are still opening the product at a stage that will be followed by a kill step, and you are still processing the product within the final container.

 

Unless I've misunderstood something?

I was a bit confused about the botulism thing - if the process destroys Clostridium botulinum then where does the toxin come from? Unless you're saying that it might be present in the raw material prior to processing? IIRC it's not that thermally stable and would probably be destroyed by your thermal process?



#8 tharinduth

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 03:53 PM

That doesn't impact on BRC's view of the risk of the particular zone/stage (which is arguably separate to the inherent risk level of the product) - you are still opening the product at a stage that will be followed by a kill step, and you are still processing the product within the final container.

 

Unless I've misunderstood something?

I was a bit confused about the botulism thing - if the process destroys Clostridium botulinum then where does the toxin come from? Unless you're saying that it might be present in the raw material prior to processing? IIRC it's not that thermally stable and would probably be destroyed by your thermal process?

 

 

Yes that toxin is definitely deactivated by 85 degree Celsius for more than 5 minutes. According to that answer, product will fall under low risk category from step 3 of the decision tree. Thank you very much for the explanation. 


Edited by tharinduth, 07 November 2019 - 03:56 PM.


#9 The Food Scientist

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 04:02 PM

One more note for you, make sure you are testing for product container integrity if you don't already :) 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.






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