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What is expected from the haccp specialist to know

Vocational excellence  
ensuring food product safety, 
consumer protection and 
Project is funded by 
competitiveness in  
Europen Union. 
Western Balkans 

SUBJECT: Material for HACCP School of Excelence: Vocational excellence
ensuring food product safety, consumer protection and competitiveness in
Western Balkans
What is expected from the HACCP specialist to know after finishing HACCP course?
By Peter Raspor*

There are 12 tasks required to develop a HACCP system to function and these are designed to
ensure that the seven principles are applied and implemented correctly. Specialist in HACCP
should be able to know, understand and able to asses if all activities have been conducted as
needed, but also design in cooperation with HACCP team all activities materializing in effective
HACCP system . For this task She/ He needs knowledge and skills demonstrated along 12
essential task to establish and maintain HACCP system in full operation. Person should
understand all basic definitions and actions needed. She/he should be able to asses and judge
congruity between practical solution and theoretical background. She or he should be able to
observe, specify, consult, defend and harmonize findings and facts with other professionals in
relevant solid professional language.

Task 1 - Establish a HACCP team

To fully understand the commodity system and be able to identify all likely hazards and CCPs, it
is important that the HACCP team is made up of people from a wide range of disciplines. If any
changes are made to composition or operational procedures, it will be necessary to re-assess the
HACCP plan in the light of the changes. The first activity of the HACCP team is to identify the
scope of the study. This will make the task more manageable and specialists can be added to the
team as and when they are required.

Task 2 - Describe the product

To start a hazard analysis, a full description of the product, including customer specification,
should be prepared. This should include all information relevant to safety. Also information
regarding how the product is to be packaged, stored and transported should also be considered
together with facts regarding its' shelf life and recommended storage temperatures. Where
appropriate, labelling information and an example of the label should be included.

Task 3 - Identify the product's intended use

How the product is intended to be used is an important consideration. Information on whether the
product will be consumed directly, or be cooked, or be further processed, will all have a bearing
on the hazard analysis. The nature of the target group for the product may also be relevant and
should be considered as well as likelihood of misuse of a product.

Task 4 - Draw up the commodity flow diagram

Skill to draw up a detailed commodity flow diagram (CFD) of the commodity system, or that part
of it which is relevant is essential. The expertise of the commodity specialist is important at this
stage. Commodity systems will differ in detail in different parts of the world, and even within one
Vocational excellence  
ensuring food product safety, 
consumer protection and 
Project is funded by 
competitiveness in  
Europen Union. 
Western Balkans 

country there may be a number of variants. Secondary processing will need to be detailed for
each factory, using generic flows only as a guide.

Task 5 - On site confirmation of flow diagram

Upon completion of the CFD, specialist should be able to conduct visit the commodity system to
compare the information present on the CFD with what actually happens in practice regarding
materials, practices, controls etc. Information such as time of harvest, drying procedures, storage
conditions, the marketing chain, socio-economic factors, grading systems and any incentive for
improved quality or safety, and processing systems, should be collected and included in the CFD
as appropriate.

Task 6 - Identify and analyse hazard(s) - (Principle 1)

All real or potential hazards that may occur in each ingredient and at each stage of the commodity
system should be considered. Food safety hazards for HACCP programmes have been classified
into three types of hazards B iological: typically foodborne bacterial pathogens such as
Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, also viruses, algae, parasites and fungi. Chemical: There are
three principle types of chemical toxins found in foods: naturally occurring chemicals, e.g.
cyanides in some root crops, and allergenic compounds in peanuts; toxins produced by micro-
organisms, e.g. mycotoxins, and algal toxins; and chemicals added to the commodity by man to
control an identified problem, e.g fungicides or insecticides and Physical: contaminants such as
broken glass, metal fragments, insects or stones. Specialist should be able to indicate all and to be
able to estimate risk(The probability that a hazard will occur). Food safety hazard has to be
identified, then appropriate control measures should be considered. These are any action or
activity that can be used to control the identified hazard, such that it is prevented, eliminated, or
reduced to an acceptable level. The control measure may also include training of personnel for a
particular operation, covered by GAP, GMP, and GHP.

Task 7 - Determine the critical control points (ccps) - (Principle 2).

Specialist should be able to develop each step in the commodity flow diagram, within the scope
of the HACCP study and relevance of each identified hazard. He or she must determine whether
the hazard can occur at this step, and if so whether control measures exist. If the hazard can be
controlled adequately, and is not best controlled at another step then She/he has to be able
determine this step as CCP for the specified hazard. Skill to use decision tree to determine CCPs
is vital. However, respect to the HACCP team's judgement, expertise and knowledge of the
process are the major factors in establishing CCPs and should be learned and resepcted.

Task 8 - Establish critical limits for each ccp - (Principle 3)

Skill for establishment of critical limits must be specified and validated for each CCP. Criteria
often used include measurements of temperature, time, moisture level, pH, water activity, and
sensory parameters such as visual appearance. All critical limits, and the associated permissible
tolerances, must be documented in the HACCP Plan Worksheet, and included as specifications in
operating procedures and work instructions.

Task 9 - Establish a monitoring procedure - (Principle 4)

Vocational excellence  
ensuring food product safety, 
consumer protection and 
Project is funded by 
competitiveness in  
Europen Union. 
Western Balkans 

Monitoring serves as mechanism for confirmation that critical limits at each CCP under control.
The method chosen for monitoring must be sensitive and produce a rapid result so that trained
operatives are able to detect any loss of control of the step. This is imperative so that corrective
action can be taken as quickly as possible. Tools for monitoring like observation or measurement,
on samples taken in accordance with a statistically based sampling plan should be adopted.

Task 10 - Establish corrective action - (Principle 5)

Corrective action must be taken immediately when critical limits are not being met. Corrective
actions must ensure that the CCP has been brought back under control. The corrective action
should take into account the worst case scenario, but must also be based on the assessment of
hazards, risk and severity, and on the final use of the product. Operatives responsible for
monitoring CCPs should be familiar with and have received comprehensive training in how to
effect a corrective action.

Task 11 - Verify the HACCP plan - (Principle 6)

It is important to take in accountr that the HACCP system is set up for a particular formulation of
product handled and processed in a given way. Once the HACCP plan has been drawn up, and all
of the CCPs have been validated, then the complete plan must be verified. Once the HACCP plan
is in routine operation, it must be verified and reviewed at regular intervals. The appropriateness
of CCPs and control measures can thus be determined, and the extent and effectiveness of
monitoring can be verified. Microbiological and/or alternative chemical tests can be used to
confirm that the plan is in control and the product is meeting customer specifications. A formal
internal auditing plan of the system will also demonstrate an ongoing commitment to keep the
HACCP plan up to date, as well as representing an essential verification activity.

Task 12 - Keep record - (Principle 7)

Record keeping is an essential part of the HACCP process. It demonstrates that the correct
procedures have been followed from the start to the end of the process, offering product
traceability. Records that should be kept include: all processes and procedures linked to GMP,
GHP, CCP monitoring, deviations, and corrective actions. Documents should also include those
that recorded the original HACCP study, e.g. hazard identification and selection of critical limits,
but the bulk of the documentation will be records concerned with the monitoring of CCPs and
corrective actions taken. Record keeping can be carried out in a number of ways, ranging from
simple check-lists, to records and control charts. Manual and computer records are equally
acceptable, but a documentation method should be designed that is appropriate for the size and
nature of the enterprise.
* Professor Dr.Peter Raspor, DDr.H.C.
Head of Chair of Biotechnology, Microbiology and Food Safety,
Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana
Jamnikarjeva 101, 1000 Ljubljana, SLOVENIA
Tel:+386 13203750 fax:+386 1 2574 092


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