Chapter 15 - Low-Acid and Acidified Low-Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers (Canned Foods)
15.10 Records to Maintain

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15.10.1 Processing and Production Records

  1. Processing and production information should be entered by the retort or processing system operator or other designated person, on forms which should include the product, the code number, the retort or processing system number, the size of container, the approximate number of containers per coding interval, the minimum initial temperature, the actual processing time and temperature, the mercury-in-glass and recording thermometer readings, and other appropriate processing data. Closing machine vacuum (in vacuum-packed products), maximum drained weight, or other critical factors specified in the scheduled process should also be recorded. In addition, the following records should be maintained:
    1. Still retorts

      Time steam on: time temperature up to processing temperature; time steam off; venting time and/or temperature to which vented (as applicable).

    2. Agitating retorts

      Functioning of condensate bleeder; retort speed; and, where specified in the scheduled process, head space, consistency, maximum drained weight, minimum net weight and percent solids.

    3. Hydrostatic retorts

      The temperature in the steam chamber between the steam-water interface and the lowest container position; speed of the container conveyor chain: and where the scheduled process specifies maintenance of particular temperatures in the hydrostatic water legs, the temperatures near the top and the bottom of each hydrostatic water leg.

  2. Recording thermometer charts shall be identified by date, and other data as necessary, so that they can be correlated with the written record of lots processed, Each entry on the record shall be made by the retort or processing system operator, or other designated person, at the time the specific retort or processing system condition or operation occurs, and the retort or processing system operator or such designated person shall sign or initial each record form. Not later than one working day after the actual process, and prior to shipment or release for distribution, a representative of plant management who is qualified by suitable training or experience shall review all processing and production records for completeness and to ensure that the product received the scheduled process. The records, including the recording thermometer chart(s), shall be signed by the individual conducting the review.
  3. Written records of all container closure examinations should specify the product code, the date and time of container closure inspections, the measurements obtained, and all corrective actions taken. Records should be signed by the container closure inspector and should be reviewed by management with sufficient frequency to assure that the containers are hermetically sealed.
  4. Written records should be kept to show that desired equilibrium pH is obtained where the food acidity is adjusted for processing.
  5. Records shall be kept on cooling water chlorination and microbiological testing.

15.10.2 Distribution Records

Records shall be maintained identifying the initial distribution of the finished product.

Copies of all records provided for in this section except those on cooling water chlorination, shall be kept by the company for a period of not less than three years, and shall be available to an inspector at any time.

15.10.3 Incubation Records

A permanent log shall be maintained by an inspector, listing product, code, number of containers, dates of start and finish of incubations period, together with results of all examinations (cans should be examined at least every three days).

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