Supply Chain Council of European Union |

the importance of validations and ‘worst-case scenarios’

Validations show that a process or control measure will work. Verifications show we are still doing what we are supposed to be doing and the process or control measure still works.

For due diligence, food processors must be able to demonstrate the use of appropriate documented control measures designed to eliminate or minimise risks. Validations are usually necessary to prove these control measures are adequate and appropriate. This is especially vital in two common areas: thermal processing and allergen control.

Thermal processing

Thermal processing refers to a cooking process. They are often a critical control point and most operations will consider all relevant variables with regards to the process when implementing a validation. Potential examples include:

  1. Time (for example, how long does the food spend in the oven? What belt speed is the travelling oven set at? What is the flow rate of the pasteuriser?)
  2. Temperature (for example, how hot is it in the oven? Is it a cold start or is the equipment pre-heated?)
  3. Temperature of the food (for example, how cold or hot is the food as it goes into the oven?)
  4. Loading or volume (for example, how much food is put into the process? Are vessels filled or half-filled? Are belts for belt-fed ovens fully loaded and to what depth? Is the product single-layered, double-layered or more? Are walk-in ovens fully-loaded or half-loaded?)
  5. Size (is there a weight or size variance in the food? For example, if meat joints are being processed, do they vary between 1kg and 1.5kg?)

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