Good Manufacturing Practices

The following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) describe what you need to do to“manufacture” safe and wholesome food for your customers. Your own “processing environment” extends well beyond a mobile unit or your own poultry processing equipment to your whole farm. It includes the people and the buildings, grounds, equipment and conditions on your farm site. The following GMP’s address all of these areas. They are designed to help you create a processing environment that allows for the safe and sanitary processing of a potentially hazardous food.
1. Provide Training for Processing Personnel
Design and implement an effective training program in which all those who assist in processing of poultry understand personal hygiene and sanitary product handling procedures.
2. Establish Health & Hygiene Policies for Processing Personnel
Make certain that you and your personnel have the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to protect your poultry products from contamination by food handlers. This is especially important because poultry products support the rapid growth of microorganisms and are recognized as a “potentially hazardous food.” Consider attending a ServSafe® or similar food safety training program to insure that you are well informed about safe food handling.
Your Personnel Health & Hygiene Policies and training program must address:

    • A. Personal Health and Cleanliness. Personnel should be dismissed from the processing environment if they:

      • a. Have a food borne illness.
      • b. Show symptoms of a stomach or intestinal illness or jaundice.
      • c. Have a sore throat or temperature.
      • d. Have an infected wound or cut.
      • e. Live with or are exposed to a person who is ill.
      • f. Personal Cleanliness. You and your personnel must discuss the critical importance of general personal cleanliness. Ideally, you and they shouldmshower and shampoo before work. (Dirty hair, for example, is a prime source of pathogens.)
    • B. Hygienic Hand Practices. Hand washing is the most important aspect of personal hygiene for food handlers. Train personnel to follow these steps:

      • a. Wet hands with running water as hot as you can comfortably stand it (at least 105° F) and apply soap. Vigorously scrub hands and arms for at least ten to fifteen seconds. Pay special attention to cleaning between fingers and under fingernails.
      • b. Rinse thoroughly under hot running water.
      • c. Dry hands with a single use paper towel.
      • d. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the bathroom facility door.
    • C. Wash hands frequently when handling live or processed poultry or viscera, as well as before starting work and after:

      • a. Using toilet facilities.
      • b. Handling processing by-products or trash.
      • c. Touching hair, face or body, including an open sore.
      • d. Sneezing, coughing or using a tissue.
      • e. Handling chemicals that might affect food safety.
      • f. Touching dirty clothing, work aprons, work surfaces or anything else that could contaminate hands, such as unsanitary equipment, work surfaces or cleaning tools.
    • D. Gloves, if used, should be disposable and changed when they become soiled or torn, before changing tasks, and at least every four hours during continued use. Hand dips are optional but not required. Nail polish should be prohibited; nails should be clipped short.
    • E. Proper Work Attire – You and your processing personnel should:

      • a. Wear clean clothing. If possible, change into clean clothes at the processing site.
      • b. Wear a clean hat or other hair restraint. Hair restraints serve two purposes: they keep you from touching your hair and keep your hair away from food. Personnel with long beards should wear beard restraints.
      • c. Remove jewelry from hands and arms. Jewelry provides a good host site for pathogens and may pose a hazard when working around equipment.
      • d. Wear appropriate, clean boots or close-toed shoes with non-skid soles. Consider providing step-in shoe sanitizing “stations” at points of entry to the processing area.

3. Create & Maintain a Clean Processing Environment
Establish grounds and building maintenance practices that provide a clean and wholesome processing environment.

    A. Set up or arrange your site to allow easy and direct movement of your birds to the holding area and the processing area. Clean and disinfect poultry transport coops before and after use, Plan for easy and direct movement of chilled, packaged carcasses to your on-site refrigerated storage areas.
    B. Maintain the following areas in a clean, well-drained condition and free of litter:

    • a. Poultry holding facilities and adjacent areas.
    • b. The processing equipment location (including water and electric hook up).
    • c. Buildings or sheds used for: storage of processing/handling supplies, equipment and finished product (i.e., refrigeration or freezing, and adjacent areas).
    • d. Facilities used by personnel for personal hygiene (i.e., toilets, handwashing, supplies and clothing) and adjacent areas.
    • e. On-site areas used for processing waste management (i.e., fields or pastures used for wastewater disposal and compost areas used to process solid wastes).
    C. Frequently inspect all outside areas of your site for trash, blood, feathers, fecal material, etc., all of which must be promptly and properly removed and disposed of.
    D. Keep trashcans, if any, tightly covered.
    E. Maintain adequate dust control throughout your site.
    F. Keep the buildings and sheds you use for storing processing supplies and product, and for maintaining personal hygiene of your personnel, in good, easily “cleanable” repair.

4. Control Pests: Inside & Outside
Install and maintain adequate pest control measures throughout your processing environment.

    A. Keep all areas free of harborages for rodents; maintain “clean zones” in and around all storage and processing areas.
    B. Install measures to prevent wild birds, domestic and wild animals, and insects from entering your processing environment
    C. Prevent wild birds and other pests from nesting in the processing environment
    D. Inspect all areas prior to processing dates for presence of rodents and all other pests
    E. Establish and maintain rigorous on-farm and farm-to-farm bio-security policies and practices.

5. Control Access
Place signs around your site to provide strict access control in your processing environment. Discourage non-personnel from entering your poultry rearing areas (a biosecurity issue) and processing environment in general, and do not permit them on the mobile unit or on-farm processing area when in use. Limit access to poultry holding areas, processing areas, and on-site storage/refrigeration areas to trained personnel during processing operations.
Personnel should not move back and forth between the slaughter and evisceration areas, between the processing area and poultry holding and on-farm refrigeration/storage areas, or out of and back into the processing environment without removing gloves and aprons when leaving, and without washing hands upon return. Prohibit smoking, eating, drinking, and chewing gum and tobacco in the processing environment when processing is taking place.
6. Provide & Protect Potable Water
Provide a supply of safe-to-drink, potable water that is sufficient (quantity and pressure) to support all processing, chilling, cleaning, sanitizing and personnel hygiene needs, including ice manufacture. (Sources of potable water include municipal water, private wells that are properly managed and regularly tested; closed portable water containers filled with potable water and bottled drinking water.) In addition:

    A. Provide hot water (105° minimum) for personal hygiene (including hand washing) and equipment cleaning (150° minimum).
    B. Provide approved, food-grade quality hoses and pipes for all water used for processing, cleaning and personal hygiene.
    C. Install and maintain measures to prevent contamination of water used in processing, cleaning and personal hygiene; prevent cross-contamination between potable and non-potable water with water system backflow prevention devices (air gaps, vacuum/pressure breakers or check valves).

7. Maintain & Securely Store Processing Equipment & Utensils
Maintain your processing equipment and utensils in good condition, so that they can perform effectively and can be easily cleaned and sanitized. Store them securely when not in use.

    A. Conduct pre- and post-operation inspections of all processing equipment and utensils, checking for cleanliness and signs of rust, wear, damage or other defects.
      • Your equipment inspection checklist should include:

        • a. Transport Coops
        • b. Killing cones
        • c. Scalder and plucker
        • d. Knives and other implements and utensils
        • e. Evisceration and work tables
        • f. Chilling and holding tanks; ice containers; processing waste collection tubs
        • g. Cleaning and sanitizing equipment
        • h. Hoses, water and propane lines and connections, water backflow devices, electric outlets and wiring, propane tanks, etc.
    B. Repair serious defects and/or perform necessary maintenance before processing begins and prior to storage.
    C. Store all equipment and utensils in good conditions in clean, secure storage areas, to prevent damage or contamination of any kind.

8. Provide Secure Storage for Processing Supplies & Materials
Store all supplies and materials used in cleaning, sanitizing, packaging and labeling in clean, secure storage areas, to prevent damage or contamination of any kind. Keep cleaning and sanitizing agents in clearly labeled, secure containers; keep separated from supplies that may come in contact with food.
9. Manage Processing Wastes
Your plan should describe the steps you will take to manage processing wastes in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. It will insure that:

    A. Wastewater, such as water from chilling, cleaning with approved soaps, and rinsing, is properly collected and land applied on biologically active farm hayfields or pastures in a manner that precludes erosion and functions as a safe and appropriate crop nutrient. Such fields or pastures must be located at least 200 feet from any surface water or wells.
    B. Solid processing waste, such as poultry feathers, blood and viscera, is properly collected, transported and incorporated into an actively managed agricultural compost pile or windrow. Your proposed compost “recipe” must support active composting, including appropriate bulking materials, moisture content and C:N ratio.
    C. Trash, such as discarded containers for supplies, damaged packaging materials and disposable gloves, is properly collected, contained and removed from your processing environment.

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Tara Hammonds

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