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All establishments operating under the “Equal To” Inspection Program are required to have Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP’s) and a HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) in place. These measures help ensure that meat and poultry processors are producing safe products. These ideas can be confusing and difficult to understand so it is important to learn the basics before starting your meat or poultry processing business.
These are written procedures that describe the establishment’s cleaning program and the records they use to monitor it. The program needs to describe sanitary personnel practices and operations that are used to keep the environment and plant facilities in a clean condition. There are very specific requirements for the type of procedures that the SSOP’s need to contain and the type of monitoring that needs to take place to meet program requirements. The regulatory requirements for SSOP’s can be found in 9 CFR 416.11-416.16.
This is the written food safety plan for the establishment. This plan covers biological, chemical and physical food safety hazards that may arise during the production process. This plan is implemented to control these hazards in products and ensure the process is producing a safe product. The regulatory requirements for HACCP in meat inspection can be found in 9 CFR 417.
The development of SSOP’s and a HACCP plan that meets the regulatory requirements can be very challenging. It is important to become familiar with these concepts before developing a plan or modifying an existing one. There are many examples procedures and plans that can be used as a basis for developing plants for your establishment, however, please remember that every process is different and that there are no “cookie-cutter” plans that will not need to be modified to reflect your process. The requirements for HACCP and SSOP are also continually evolving and you must remain flexible and adapt to these new requirements.
Nicole Neeser, DVM, MPH
Dairy, Meat & Poultry Inspection Program Manager
Meat & Poultry Inspection Program Supervisor
Dairy & Food Inspection Division
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), 625 Robert Street N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538, firstname.lastname@example.org