Food Safety Practices Guidance for Ready-to-Eat Fresh-Cut Vegetable Manufacturers
Chapter 7: Records

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7.1 General Records

7.1.1 General Record Requirements

Information is recorded in a manner that represents an accurate history of the product or process. Records are retained for the required period of time.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The records are legible, permanent and accurately reflect the actual events, conditions or activities.
  • Errors or changes are identified so that the original record remains clear (e.g., strike out with a single stroke and initial the correction/change).
  • Each entry on a record is made by the person in the position of responsibility at the time that the specific event occurred. The completed records are signed and dated by the person in the position of responsibility.
  • Critical Control Point records are signed by a qualified individual designated by management. All other records are reviewed at an appropriate frequency to provide an early indication of potentially serious deficiencies.
  • The records are retained for at least one year after the best before date on the label or container.
  • The records are maintained and are available upon request.

7.2 Records on Control of Operation

7.2.1 Process Design Records

Records are available to demonstrate the adequacy of procedures and methods used in process development.

Rationale

Records are necessary to verify that factors significant to food safety including Critical Control Points are adequate to produce a safe product.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The records are available upon request to verify that reliable procedures have been followed in designing the process.

7.2.2 Incoming Material Control Records

The manufacturer keeps records that demonstrate the adequacy of incoming materials control.

Rationale

Adequate records are necessary to verify the manufacturer's control over biological, physical and/or chemical hazards associated with incoming materials.

Anticipated Outcomes

Incoming Ingredients
  • Appropriate records are kept to demonstrate that incoming lots of raw vegetables and other ingredients were inspected for signs of contamination and adherence to written specifications.
  • Data on antimicrobial agents and food chemicals (e.g., food additives/processing aids) are kept on file.
Incoming Packaging Materials
  • Appropriate records are kept to demonstrate adequate control of essential criteria identified in the process design or shelf life study.
Non-Conforming Incoming Materials (including ingredients and packaging material)
  • The manufacturer has records to:
    • identify the material;
    • identify the deficiency; and,
    • specify the preventive and corrective action taken.

7.2.3 Product Preparation Records

Records for factors significant to food safety are maintained and are available on request.

Rationale

Records are necessary to verify that factors significant to food safety during preparation are controlled.

Anticipated Outcomes

The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of product preparation through adherence to factors significant to food safety where applicable (e.g., allergens, food additives).

7.2.4 Process Control Records

Written records that adequately reflect the control of Critical Control Points and/or factors significant to food safety during processing are available upon request.

Rationale

Records are necessary to verify the safety of the process.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of Critical Control Points and/or factors significant to food safety during processing.
  • Deviations are noted on the records by the operator during the process and not after the fact.
Inspection, Sorting, Trimming
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of biological, chemical and physical hazards (e.g., visual inspection, metal removal, sorting/cleaning by gravity, air and water).
First Wash
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of the initial wash to ensure the effective removal of soil and the reduction of initial microbial load.
Cutting, Slicing, Shredding and Grinding
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of these steps to minimize contamination with biological and physical hazards such as pathogens and metal.
Washing
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate efficient washing to remove cellular fluids, reducing the available nutrients for microbial growth.
Antimicrobial Treatment
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of the critical processing factors such as chlorine concentration, pH and contact time (as required) and use of other antimicrobial treatments.
Rinse After Antimicrobial Treatment
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the reduction of antimicrobial treatment residues to acceptable levels.
Drying After Rinsing
  • When appropriate for the product, the manufacturer has records to demonstrate the effective removal of excess water.
Blending/Mixing
  • Where appropriate, the manufacturer has records to demonstrate that no additional hazards have been introduced into the product.
Metal Detection
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the proper functioning of all metal detectors as determined by passing test wands through the devices at the established frequency.
Product Temperature During Processing
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of product temperature during processing.
Product Temperature During Storage
  • The manufacturer has records that demonstrate the control of product temperature during storage. Daily records of temperatures in all refrigeration facilities are maintained. These could consist of recorder charts or a daily log of maximum/minimum temperatures. The records include the date and location where the temperature was recorded.

Note: Minimum information required on records may vary depending on the type of process.

7.2.5 Deviation and Corrective Action Records

Records are available to document deviations and demonstrate the effectiveness of corrective actions taken.

Rationale

Records are required to verify that the manufacturer has documented deviations and that corrective actions have been effective.

Anticipated Outcomes

Deviation/Hold

Deviation records include information such as:

  • the product and code;
  • the date when the product was manufactured, held, released or destroyed;
  • the description of deviation and reason for the hold;
  • the amount of product held, e.g., back to the point where the process was last in control;
  • the results of the evaluation/sort, e.g., amount analyzed, analysis report of the number and nature of defects;
  • the disposition of the held product, e.g., amount sorted, destroyed or returned to the supplier, employee sales, distress or salvage, reconditioning and retail sales;
  • the signature of personnel responsible for the hold and evaluation;
  • the signed authorization for disposition.
Corrective Action

Corrective action records include information such as:

  • the cause of the deviation identified;
  • the corrective action taken to correct the deficiency;
  • the follow-up/assessment related to the effectiveness of the corrective action;
  • the preventive measures taken to prevent a recurrence;
  • the date corrective action was taken and verified; and,
  • the signature of the person in the position of responsibility.

7.2.6 Verification Records

Records are available to demonstrate the adequacy of verification procedures.

Rationale

Records show the results of verification and confirm the conformance and effectiveness of manufacturing controls.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The records of verification include the methods utilized, the date, the individuals/organizations responsible, the results/findings and the action taken (corrective action when a deviation is found).

7.3 Records on Equipment

7.3.1 Equipment/Instrumentation Maintenance and Calibration Records

Records are available to demonstrate adherence to the maintenance and calibration program for equipment and instrumentation that may have an impact on food safety.

Rationale

Records permit verification of the effectiveness of the equipment/instrumentation maintenance and calibration program.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • In Maintenance Records, the manufacturer typically includes an identification of the equipment/instrumentation, the maintenance activity, the date of maintenance, the name of the person in the position of responsibility and the reason for the activity.
  • In Calibration Records, the manufacturer typically includes an identification of the equipment/instrumentation, the date of calibration, the name of the person in the position of responsibility, the calibration results and corrective actions.

7.4 Records on Premises

7.4.1 Water/Ice/Steam Quality Records

Written records that adequately reflect control of water, ice and steam quality and treatment are available upon request.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The manufacturer has records available upon request to demonstrate the adequacy of the microbiological and chemical safety of the water, ice and steam supply.
  • The records must indicate the water source, the sample site, the date and time sampled, the method of treatment, the analytical methods, the analytical results, the name of the analyst and the date completed.
  • The manufacturer should refer to the CFIA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program's Record of Decision on Registered Produce Warehouse Registration/Renewal Requirements for Water Analysis for additional records required by registered establishments.

7.5 Records on Sanitation and Pest Control

7.5.1 Sanitation Records

Records are available to demonstrate the effectiveness of the sanitation program.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The records of sanitation activities include the date, the name of the person in the position of responsibility, the findings, the corrective action taken and, where appropriate, the microbiological test results.

7.5.2 Pest Control Records

Records are available to demonstrate the effectiveness of the pest control program.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Minimum pest control records include:
    • the results of the inspection programs and the corrective action taken (e.g., the findings in traps, the location of insect infestations);
    • a record of pest control activities (e.g., the pesticide used, the method and location of application, the dates of fumigation); and,
    • the date and the name of the person in the position of responsibility.

7.6 Records on Complaint Handling and Recalls

7.6.1 Complaint Records

Records of product complaints, investigation findings and action taken are available upon request.

Rationale

Records provide verification that the appropriate action was taken within a reasonable time frame.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • The establishment maintains detailed records of consumer complaints received and of the subsequent investigations, including the corrective actions taken. The complaint records include the information listed below.
Consumer Information

The manufacturer's records contain, at a minimum:

  1. the name, address and telephone number of the complainant as well as the date the complaint was received;
  2. the details of the complaint and/or illness;
  3. the product's name, code and size; and,
  4. the retail outlet where the product was purchased.
Investigation

The manufacturer's records contain, at a minimum:

  1. the name of person responsible for the investigation;
  2. the action taken (concerning the product and/or the process) as a result of the investigation;
  3. the corrective action taken to prevent a recurrence; and,
  4. a follow-up/assessment of the effectiveness of the corrective action.

7.6.2 Distribution Records

Product distribution records are available to enable the manufacturer to recall any lot of food in a timely fashion.

Anticipated Outcomes

The distribution records contain sufficient information to permit traceability to a particular code or lot number. The following minimum information is required for distribution records:

  1. the product identification and size;
  2. the lot number or code;
  3. the quantity; and,
  4. the name and type of the account (e.g., manufacturer, distributor, retailer), addresses and phone numbers of recipients.
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