Edited by Jeremy Russell

October 12, 1998


One Plant's Implementation, by Steve Sayer

In July 1996, a regulation known as the "Mega Reg" was finalized and will greatly influence the way we run our business operations. It consists of two waves of regulations. The first wave, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs), took effect January 1997 and requires every meat and poultry establishment to have written daily sanitation procedures before, during and after operations.

The second wave involves Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). In slaughter operations, daily mandatory microbiological testing for evidence of specific pathogens is required.

In May 1993, Alpha Meat Packing Co. developed a voluntary in-house microbiological program to monitor the integrity of our production surfaces and incoming products. A year later, we introduced ATP Technology. ATP testing detects food residues, human and animal debris, as well as viable microbiological organisms in less than two minutes per test. This rapid micro testing has enabled us to present to our Inspector-in-Charge both a visual and a microbiological assessment of our cutting surfaces before each production shift commences.

In 1995, we retained an independent laboratory to help us set parameters for our HACCP program. In August 1996, less than ten days after publication of the Mega Reg, our HACCP program was verified by their panel of experts. The laboratory performs objective, semiannual audits of our HACCP program and quarterly environmental swab testing of our plant's interior edifices.

Starting in November 1995, twelve employees from production, maintenance, shipping/receiving and sanitation were sent to workshops by the National Meat Association and HACCP Consulting Group. This education is continually supplemented by in-house training. Work smocks bearing a "HACCP Certified" patch, along with their names and company's insignia, were presented to these employees and their diplomas were mounted on a high foot traffic wall. Our company wants to recognize this extra effort as part of our food safety goals.

Our industrial safety and food safety programs have blended well. HACCP and our Injury and Illness Prevention Program require accurate documentation and painstakingly clear verification procedures. Both programs share the same ingredients for success: sound preventive procedures and verifiable documentation fueled by commitment from top management. We've developed our own trenchant aphorism: "You can't have a safe plant unless it is a clean plant, and you can't have a clean plant unless it's a safe plant."


For more inforamation about plants' responsibilities under HACCP, link to NMA's Big-H Day Checklist.