|Marketing Order Quality Control
|USDA Standards and Grades
Multiple measures are taken to ensure almonds have the highest quality.
Work with growers to ensure on-farm food quality and safety programs and GAPs are implemented. GMPs are more effective when growers have implemented on-farm food quality and safety programs. Growers who utilize safe and effective agricultural practices will minimize the potential for food safety contamination in the field and ultimately at the processing facility.
Product hold and release
A product hold and release program should be established to ensure that no product is released until all the necessary chemical, physical, grade and microbiological analyses have been completed and customer specifications have been met.
Procedures for “HOLDS” include:
- Hold notices are completed with all necessary information.
- The Hold notice is issued to all departments involved.
- The product on hold will be labeled with a completed Hold tag and the lot number will be recorded.
- Product pallets will be removed to the Hold area pending disposition.
- Disposition of the product will be determined by senior management or the QC Manager.
- Hold tags may only be removed by QC personnel.
- All Hold tags must be accounted for by QC.
Grading and inspection
USDA inspection and grading of incoming almonds is mandatory and must be conducted by USDA licensed inspectors. Grading and certification of finished packed almonds varies by handler.
In order to receive a USDA certification, final product ready for shipment must comply with established USDA standards. The final product must also comply with the stated standards if there are claims on invoices, product labels or advertising as to the grade of the final product.
Net weight control
Labels must accurately state the quantity of food in the container exclusive of wrappers or packaging. Reasonable variation in quantity is recognized but cannot be unreasonably large. Customers, as well as government regulators, negatively regard under weights. Over weights can result in a loss of income. An effective GMP program includes a well-managed net-weight control plan. View Sample Control Chart for Weights form.
Institute a program of random sampling to ensure labeled net weight reflects actual net weight. Document the weights of all random samples. When a discrepancy occurs, document the corrective action taken.
Download the full GMP manual.