Food Safety Practices Guidance for Ready-to-Eat Fresh-Cut Vegetable Manufacturers
Chapter 6: Transportation and Storage

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6.1 Transportation

6.1.1 Food Carriers

Conveyances and containers used by the manufacturer are designed, constructed, maintained, cleaned and utilized in a manner that prevents food contamination and minimizes microbial growth.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The transportation of food products preferably takes place in conveyances and containers dedicated to food use only. When used for food and non-food loads, procedures are in place to restrict the type of non-food loads to those that do not pose a risk to foods in the same shipment or to subsequent food loads after an acceptable clean-out.
  • Conveyances and containers are inspected by the manufacturer upon receipt of incoming ingredients and prior to loading of final products to ensure that they are free from contamination and suitable for the transportation of food.
  • Conveyances and containers are constructed, maintained and cleaned in a manner that prevents the contamination of food. The manufacturer can demonstrate that the carrier has an adequate cleaning and sanitizing program in place.
  • Conveyances and containers are loaded, arranged and unloaded in a manner that prevents damage and contamination.

6.1.2 Temperature Controls

Incoming vegetables and finished products are refrigerated during transportation to minimize the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The temperature during transportation is controlled to maintain optimum storage conditions for fresh vegetables.
  • Other incoming ingredients requiring refrigeration are maintained at 4°C or less.
  • Finished products are maintained at 4°C or less during transportation.
  • Transportation vehicles are equipped with temperature measuring devices, preferably recording thermometers. If recording thermometers are not used, maximum/minimum thermometers are used.

6.2 Storage

6.2.1 Incoming Materials Storage

Incoming ingredients and packaging materials are stored and handled in a manner designed to minimize spoilage and deterioration and to prevent damage and contamination. Incoming vegetables are refrigerated during storage to minimize the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The temperature of the storage rooms is controlled to maintain optimum storage conditions for fresh vegetables (refer to Section 1.8.1 Processing Control: Temperature Control). Incoming vegetables are refrigerated during storage to minimize the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
  • Other incoming ingredients requiring refrigeration are maintained at 4°C or less.
  • The refrigeration facilities (storage rooms) are equipped with temperature measuring devices, preferably recording thermometers. If recording thermometers are not used, maximum/minimum thermometers are used.
  • Stock rotation (of ingredients and, where appropriate, of packaging materials) is controlled to prevent deterioration and spoilage. First-in, first-out stock rotation is practiced.
  • Incoming ingredients and packaging materials are stored and handled in a manner that prevents damage (e.g., control of stacking heights and forklift damage) and/or contamination (including cross-contamination with allergens).
  • Humidity sensitive ingredients and packaging materials are stored under appropriate conditions to prevent deterioration.

6.2.2 Non-Food Chemicals – Receiving and Storage

Non-food chemicals are received and stored in a manner that prevents contamination of food, packaging materials and food contact surfaces.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Non-food chemicals are received and stored in a dry, well ventilated area.
  • Non-food chemicals are stored in designated areas such that there is no possibility for cross-contamination of food or food contact surfaces.
  • Where required for ongoing use in food handling areas (e.g., conveyor lubricants), these chemicals are stored separate from food and located in a manner that prevents contamination of food, food contact surfaces and packaging materials.
  • Non-food chemicals are stored and mixed in clean, correctly labelled containers.
  • Non-food chemicals are dispensed and handled only by authorized and properly trained personnel.

6.2.3 Finished Product Storage

Finished products are stored and handled in a manner designed to minimize spoilage and deterioration and to prevent damage and contamination. Finished products are refrigerated during storage to minimize the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

Anticipated Outcomes

The refrigeration of the finished product throughout its expected shelf life is required to minimize the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

  • The temperature of the storage rooms is controlled to maintain optimum storage conditions. Finished products are maintained at 4°C or less during storage.
  • The refrigeration facilities (storage rooms) are equipped with temperature measuring devices, preferably recording thermometers. If recording thermometers are not used, maximum/minimum thermometers are used.
  • Stock rotation is controlled to prevent deterioration and spoilage that could present a health hazard (e.g., products exceeding their shelf life). First-in, first-out stock rotation is practiced.
  • Finished products are stored and handled in a manner that prevents damage, (e.g., control of stacking heights and forklift damage) and/or contamination (including cross-contamination with allergens).
  • Product returned as defective or suspect product is clearly identified and isolated in a designated area for appropriate disposition.
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