Chapter 4 - Meat Processing Controls and Procedures
4.17 Post Processing Lethality Procedures

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4.17.1 Post Process Pasteurization of Ready-to-Eat Meat Products

Pasteurization of packaged ready-to-eat meat products may be used to extend shelf life and to prevent pathogen growth in ready-to-eat meat products.

Packaging materials used for this purpose must be specifically designed to withstand the pasteurization process. The operator must keep records of all products pasteurized. The process may be designed to achieve surface heating only; however, the product must be immediately cooled to 4°C within the requirements of section 4.5 of this chapter.

4.17.2 High Pressure Processing for Ready-to-Eat Meat Products

High pressure processing is an approved post-lethality, post-packaging intervention step for RTE meats for the control of Listeria spp. This process may be used as an additional step to enhance the microbiological safety of these products.

4.17.2.1 Process Parameters for High Pressure Processing

  • The chamber must be pressurized to 87,000 PSI* (or 600 MPa**).
  • The pressure must be maintained for 3 - 9 minutes
  • A maximum of three cycles is permitted.
  • The pressure is released and the treated containers are packed and ready for shipping.

* PSI: Pounds per square inch
** MPa: Megapascal

4.17.2.2 Packaging Material for Use in High Pressure Processing

The operator is required to ensure that any packaging material that is used in the sale of food products will not impart any undesirable substance to the meat product, either chemically, physically or microbiologically and must protect them sufficiently to avoid contamination.

Operators must provide evidence that the packaging material used is appropriate to undergo high pressure processing treatment. Concerning the acceptability of packaging material to high pressure processing, packaging material companies should send their requests to the CFIA's Food Safety Risk Analysis.

The CFIA website provides additional information on the submission process.

Where applicable, packages treated with high pressure processing require refrigeration.

There are no mandatory labelling requirements associated with the use of high pressure processing.

4.17.3 Antimicrobial Interventions

For information on the use of antimicrobial interventions in ready-to-eat meat products, see Chapter 4, Annex H, Section 3.1, Antimicrobial agents and post-lethality procedures.

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