How to Compile a Testing Schedule – Part 2

We continue from Part 1…

4.2.2 Microbiological hazard evaluation

  • Is the raw material susceptible to spoilage? – e.g needs to be stored chilled (limited shelf-life) or frozen
  • Are there any barriers for microbiological growth? (e.g low pH, low water activity, vacuum packed etc)
  • Is the raw material associated with any food pathogens? e.g Salmonella in eggs, Listeria monocytogenes with dairy products, E.coli with raw vegetables
  • Are the microbiological criteria clearly specified on the raw material specifications?
  • Does the supplier perform microbiological testing and are laboratory test results available from the supplier?
  • Is there a step in your process that will eliminate or reduce the likelihood of microbial growth to acceptable levels in the end product?
  • For more guidance on Compiling a Microbiological Monitoring Programme, please read our eBook on Your guide to establishing an effective microbiological programme

4.2.3 Chemical hazard evaluation

Are there any chemical hazards associated with the raw materials e.g pesticides, veterinary residues, aflatoxins, heavy metals etc

4.2.4 Allergen hazards

  • Are there any common allergens associated with the raw materials?
  • Any potential hidden allergens – this can be determined by studying the supplier information such as the supplier questionnaire and raw material specifications or through supplier audits

5. Conduct a risk assessment

Conduct a risk assessment for each of the above food safety, legal and customer characteristics for each raw material and finished product.

  • Consider the likelihood of occurrence of the food safety or quality non-conformance and the severity ito food safety, quality or legality non-conformances in the end product and assigning an overall significance score.
  • Assign a value to from 1 to 5 to the above questions, 1 = low risk, 3 = medium risk and 5 high risk to help you determine a risk score per raw material and packed product

Some guidance with the food fraud risk assessment: there are a number of vulnerability assessment tools available. We provide a free food fraud tool to any delegates attending the Entecom Food Fraud training course.

  • The output from the food fraud vulnerability assessment or VACCP should score the raw materials which require more stringent controls and would consider the likelihood of food fraud and the likelihood of adulteration detection.
  • Use historical and scientific data to assist you when performing the risk assessment, e.g if you are using honey as ingredient, you will consider recent news articles and scientific studies to consider the risk of honey adulteration. Here supplier selection criteria becomes extremely important in assisting you with risk mitigation.
    The higher the overall significance of the particular characteristic on food safety, legality and quality, the greater the frequency of verification / testing for that particular characteristic.

Continue to Part 3

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