Code of Practice for the Harvest, Transport, Processing, and Export of Seal Products Intended for Human Consumption
Appendix IV: Requirements for Conveyances and Equipment Used For Unloading, Handling, Holding, and Transportation, (UHHT)

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1. Offloading

1.1 Seal products shall be offloaded from the harvest vessel, in a manner to ensure that they are protected from sources of contamination.

1.1.1 During offloading activities there must be no cross contamination between the meat, and the pelts. The meat is to be handled so that it remains isolated from the pelts and any other source which may serve to contaminate the meat.

1.1.2 Equipment and containers which have previously been used to offload/handle pelts shall not be used to offload/handle meat unless the equipment and containers are first subjected to appropriate cleaning and sanitation procedures.

1.1.3 Offloading procedures shall be conducted in an efficient and timely manner. During offloading vessel hold covers shall only be removed during offloading activities. Where there is a break in offloading from the hold the cover shall be replaced so as to protect the stored seal products from sources of contamination.

1.1.4 Care must be taken so that the offloading is not conducted in an area where there are significant sources of environmental contamination. Exposed seal product must be protected from sources of dust, debris, pests, animals, and any other source of chemical, or environmental contamination. Areas where seal product is landed or handled, and all surfaces that come into contact with the seal during unloading, and handling shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

1.1.5 Offal and other refuse must be disposed of in a sanitary manner so that in the opinion of the inspector, such disposal activities do not result in the presence of unsanitary conditions at the offloading premises.

1.1.6 Personnel having direct contact with seal product during offloading/handling activities must ensure that they are not a source of contamination into the product. Care shall be taken to ensure that product is not trampled upon, and that boots or other attire does not become a source of contamination. All offloading activities shall be conducted in an hygienic manner.

2. Offloading/Transport Equipment

2.1 Equipment which is used to offload/transport seal product shall be adequately designed for the sanitary handling of food products.

2.1.1 Forks, pumps, tools, baskets, vats, and other equipment which contacts the seal product during offloading/handling, must not pierce, tear, or otherwise damage or contaminate product which is destined for human consumption.

2.1.2 Equipment used to handle or transport the seal product, including chutes, conveyors, tables, utensils, vats, or other contact surfaces shall be of smooth, non-absorbent, non-corrodible material other than wood, shall be free from cracks and crevices and shall be designed, constructed and maintained so as to facilitate effective cleaning and sanitation.

2.1.3 Where hydraulic equipment is used during offloading care must be taken to ensure that there are no hydraulic leaks from the equipment/lines into the seal product or upon food contact surfaces. Should accidental leakage occur all affected product must be disposed of immediately.

2.1.4 The containers used to hold or transport seal product shall be filled to a level no higher than 90 cm of its depth. Seal products shall not be stored or transported in bulk unless it is contained in a manner such that there are divisions at intervals of a maximum of 1 metre along its length.

3. Holding/Transport

3.1 During Holding/Transport seal product shall be adequately protected to prevent contamination/spoilage.

3.1.1 Seal product shall be transported in containers with tight fitting covers, or otherwise, covered in a manner which protects the product from sources of contamination.

3.1.2 Seal product shall be adequately iced and chilled during transportation. Ice should be added in an amount so that there is an excess of ice remaining at the time that the seal is delivered to the registered establishment for further processing.

3.1.3 Once the seal product is packed for transportation, it must not be further handled except at the premises of a registered establishment under accepted QMP controls. All processing of seal product intended for human consumption must be conducted within a registered premises.

3.1.4 During transportation seal product shall be contained so that there is no leakage into a container holding the product. Should containers be designed for drainage care must be taken that the container is stored so that neither the drain hole, nor the cover, allows entry of contamination into the container.

3.1.5 All contact surfaces to which the seal product is exposed during transportation must be of appropriate construction for the hygienic handling of food, and must be maintained in a sound, clean, and sanitary manner, free from cracks and crevices which cannot be effectively cleaned.

3.1.6 Seal product held prior to transport shall be adequately iced and chilled after unloading, and be stored in containers with tight fitting covers, or otherwise covered and contained, so that it is protected for sources of contamination.

4. Ice/Water Supply

4.1 Water/Ice used during offloading/holding/transport/storage of seal product shall be obtained from an acceptable source.

4.1.1 Water used during offloading, and which makes contact with food contact surfaces must not be a source of contamination into the product. The source and acceptable quality of the water must be confirmed and documented to be acceptable. Such sources may include a monitored municipal supply, a drilled well, or sea water which has been verified to be obtained from an acceptable location. Water obtained from a source adjacent to the offloading site, or wharf, is not to be used. Water must not be obtained from any source unless there is adequate documentation as to its acceptability.

4.1.2 Ice used during holding or transport of seal product must not be a source of contamination into the product. The ice shall be made from an acceptable source of water. Ice supplied at the offloading site to be used to chill seal product during transport must originate from a facility which has been verified to be acceptable to handle food. The ice must be stored and transported in a sanitary manner prior to, and during delivery, to the unloading facility.

4.1.3 All contact surfaces to which the supply of water and ice is exposed shall be of acceptable material, and shall be maintained in a new, clean, sound condition. These contact surfaces shall be inspected, cleaned and sanitized as required to maintain them in a clean and sanitary condition.

5. Cleaning/Sanitation

5.1 All contact surfaces to which seal product is exposed during offloading shall be subjected to adequate inspection, monitoring, and sanitation activities.

5.1.1 All equipment used to offload/handle or transport seal products which will be processed for human consumption (meat and fat), which has direct contact with the product shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. The equipment shall be inspected prior to use to ensure that it is sanitary.

5.1.2 All equipment used to offload/handle/transport seal products intended for human consumption shall be cleaned and sanitized following use.

5.1.3 The persons responsible for cleaning and sanitizing equipment used in the offloading/handling/transport of seal products shall be identified and shall be knowledgeable in the application of sanitation procedures.

5.1.4 Chemicals and sanitizers used shall be approved for that use and used following the directions provided by the manufacturer of the cleaning chemical.

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