Processes and Controls
Maintaining control over materials used in manufacturing and finished product as well as ensuring sanitary conditions during storage and distribution is critical to protecting the integrity of the processed almonds.
- Remove as much dirt and mud as practical from almonds outside of packing facilities or packing areas. Take additional care to protect raw almonds against possible contamination from possible exposure to manure and animal fecal material in the soil.
- Almond bins should be cleaned before they are used to transport raw almonds.
- Almond bins should be inspected for damage on a regular basis. Bins with damaged container surfaces should not be used.
- Ensure that vehicles used to transport raw almonds to the facility are used only to convey dry food products. No chemicals, livestock, waste products or other potential contaminants may be transported without cleaning and sanitizing before almond transport.
- Almonds must be stored under conditions that protect against contamination and minimize deterioration.
- Separate containers must be used for handling raw and processed almonds.
- Reduce the potential for cross-contamination of almonds, almond contact surfaces, or almond packaging materials with biological, chemical or physical hazards. Raw almond areas shall be physically separated from processed areas and controls shall be in place to prevent the contamination of raw almonds by workers, equipment or utensils.
- Ensure that non-treated almonds are labeled as “unpasteurized,” and are segregated from treated product in order to minimize the potential for post-process contamination.
- Measures shall be taken to prevent contamination of almonds with metal. Facilities should use inspection or metal detection devices (magnets or metal detectors) to prevent metal contamination.
- Obtain certificates of analysis and continuing letters of guarantees for ingredients other than almonds and for food contact packaging.
- Develop a vendor control program to qualify and evaluate ingredient and packaging suppliers.
- Containers used for ready-to-eat almonds should be cleaned and sanitized before each use.
- Almond packaging material shall only be used to package almonds.
- Warehouses used for finished products shall be maintained in a condition that protects almonds against biological, chemical and physical contaminants.
- Protect almonds stored outdoors by an effective means, including the use of protective coverings.
- Control areas over and around almond storage to eliminate harborages for pests.
- Monitor almond storage areas as necessary for evidence of pests and pest infestations.
- Maintain accurate fumigation records, including treatment dates, product used, and the Material Safety Data Sheet for each pesticide used. Ensure employees have been trained properly and are certified to conduct fumigation treatments.
- Protect packaging containers from contamination when in storage.
- Use of pest control fumigants in product storage areas should be carefully considered and manufacturers’ recommendations should be adhered to in order to minimize the potential for drift onto almond surfaces.
- Carrier vehicles used to transport finished product should be inspected before loading for signs of insect infestation, moisture, chemical residues, foreign material, off odors, and evidence of other nut meats or contaminants.
- Implement a Carrier Inspection Program. While you may encounter initial resistance from your carrier it is better to reject an unsanitized carrier vehicle than to have your product rejected because of contamination.
Download the full GMP manual.
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