Good Importing Practices for Food
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NOTE: In import premises, "equipment" refers primarily to refrigeration units, freezers and relabelling equipment. The requirements outlined in this section are similar to those in the domestic General Principles of Food Hygiene, Composition and Labelling Code of Practice.
2.1 General Equipment
2.1.1 Equipment Maintenance
An effective maintenance and calibration program is in place to ensure that equipment consistently performs as intended and prevents contamination of product.
- The importer has an effective written preventative maintenance program to ensure that equipment that may impact on food safety and on the accuracy of net quantity, functions as intended. This includes:
- a list of equipment requiring regular maintenance;
- a program of maintenance procedures including frequencies (such as equipment inspection, adjustments and part replacements) which is based either on the equipment importer's manual or equivalent, or based on operating conditions that could affect the condition of the equipment.
- The preventative maintenance program is adhered to.
- Written protocols, including calibration methods and frequencies, are established by the importer, for monitoring equipment and/or controlling devices that may impact on food safety, net quantity and quality.
- Equipment is maintained to ensure there is no potential for physical or chemical hazards (e.g., no inappropriate repairs, no flaking paint and rust, no excessive lubrication).
- Maintenance and calibration of equipment is performed by appropriately trained personnel.
2.1.2 Instrumentation Maintenance and Calibration Program
Instrumentation is designed, constructed, installed and maintained such that equipment is capable of delivering the required procedure to ensure product safety, quality and net quantity accuracy.
Control of environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) may be crucial to the safety, quality and integrity of specific foods.
- Instruments which control factors critical to product safety and to the maintenance of quality and net quantity are designed, installed, constructed and calibrated as necessary to ensure that they function as intended. The following are some examples of instrumentation that may be required to control critical factors.
Temperature Measuring Devices
- Temperature measuring devices are installed, calibrated and maintained as necessary to ensure accuracy, based on the equipment manufacturers' specifications and instructions.
- Mercury in glass thermometers is calibrated against a known standard just prior to installation, and thereafter a minimum of once per year, or more frequently as necessary to ensure accuracy, based on the equipment manufacturers' specifications and instructions. If there is a deviation of more than 0.5°C (1°F) from the standard thermometer, corrective action is taken.
- Thermometer scales are within the operating range, are easily readable to 0.5°C (1°F) and do not contain more than 4°C/cm (17°F/in).
- The accuracy of temperature recorders is verified upon installation, and thereafter a minimum of once per year, or more frequently as necessary to ensure their accuracy, based on the equipment manufacturers' specifications and instructions.
- The sensitivity is appropriate to the use.
- Scales are designed and installed to withstand the environmental conditions or are adequately protected (e.g., away from drafts, rust, corrosion, etc.)
- Scales and meters are calibrated as necessary to ensure accuracy at all times, based on the equipment manufacturers' specifications and instructions.
- Other specialized instrumentation necessary for the control of critical factors is in place and calibrated as necessary, based on the equipment manufacturers' specifications and instructions.
NOTE: The importer should initiate corrective action as per Section 1.4 of this document, Deviations and Corrective Action, whenever products could have been affected as a result of a deviation in the accuracy of instrumentation. Importers should consider not only the lot which was found to be faulty, but all lots that might have been affected by the instrument inaccuracy.
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