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Food Quality and Safety 
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Process Authority Form No 51
Process Authorities List
Validation Guidelines
Pasteurization Program
Pastuerization Contact List

Process Authorities Validate Pasteurization Procedures

As part of the industry-wide pasteurization program, processes designed to treat almonds to reduce potential levels of Salmonella must be validated or established by an Almond Board of California (ABC)approved Process Authority.

Handlers, custom processors, and manufacturers, must have a Process Authority validate that their processing procedures meet existing parameters for achieving a 4-log reduction of Salmonella in almonds. For processing procedures which are new or “different” from existing parameters, the Process Authority establishes that the processing procedures are sufficient to achieve the 4-log reduction.

The United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations for thermal processing in the food industry states that processes for these products must be established by “competent Process Authorities.” The regulation does not, however, define how one becomes a process authority, what classes or education he or she should take or how the FDA evaluates competence.

The ABC has adopted the following definition for a Process Authority:

“A person who has expert knowledge of processing requirements for almonds and has adequate facilities for making such determinations. The person shall also have the ability and knowledge to evaluate process deviations to determine whether there is a public health risk and make recommendations to destroy, re-process, or divert affected product to ensure that the public health is protected.”

The ABC must evaluate and TERP approve Process Authorities who will validate or establish treatments for almonds. The application, ABC Form 51, requests information for the following areas in which potential Process Authorities must demonstrate competence:

    1. Knowledge about product characteristics and equipment used for the treatment process.
    2. Experience in conducting studies to determine the ability of equipment to deliver the appropriate treatment.
    3. Ability to determine, by evaluation of the acquired information, that sufficient data has been gathered to identify the critical factors needed to ensure the safety of the final product.
    4. Ability and expertise to ensure that the processor understands and adheres to the requirements of the process, as well as understands the defined critical factors and how to measure and control them.
    5. Ability to evaluate potential deviations to determine whether the product involved represents a potential hazard to health and to make appropriate recommendations to ensure proper disposition (destruction, re-processing or release) of the product.
    6. Experience in establishing or validating a process, preferably a process in the food industry.

Persons wishing to become Process Authorities must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the ABC that they have the ability, equipment and facilities to validate and establish processes. Complete the application Form 51 and submit to Jayme Puthoff.

Under Federal Law and through the Almond Board of California (ABC), almond handlers shall subject their almonds to a treatment process or processes that achieve, in total, a minimum 4-log reduction of Salmonella bacteria prior to shipment in North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico). The ABC acknowledges that only treatment processes that have demonstrated a 5-log reduction of Salmonella bacteria, as acknowledged by a letter of determination issued by the Food and Drug Administration, meet the definition of “pasteurization.” However, to ease reading of this content when referring to a treatment process that achieves a minimum 4-log reduction of Salmonella bacteria, the word “pasteurization” is used as a generic term.

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