How to Deal with a Major System Disruption in a Meat Processing Facility
By Hayriye Cetin-Karaca, Ph.D., and Gene W. Bartholomew, Ph.D.
Hayriye Cetin-Karaca, Ph.D., is a food microbiologist in the food safety and quality department of Smithfield Foods.
Gene W. Bartholomew, Ph.D., is the senior corporate director of food safety with Smithfield Foods.
Any comprehensive food production process relies on control programs to ensure food safety and quality. Major interruptions to these processes and programs may cause large economic losses to the producer as well as risks to consumers. Depending on the location of the facility and the type of food processed, control programs go by names such as prerequisite programs (PRPs), Standard Operating Procedures, Critical Control Points (CCPs), preventive controls (PCs), quality control points and Good Manufacturing Practices. Most, if not all, of these programs depend on the infrastructure of the facility for proper implementation, so any compromise to the normal design and functional state of the facility will probably jeopardize one or more of these control programs. Loss of system control probably will impact the safety or quality of any food items in process or stored on-site.