Food Safety and Determination of the Minimum Hygienic Standard for Chilled Products
Minimum hygiene standards based on different levels of heat treatment, if any, can be determined using the Decision Tree provided below. The Decision Tree distinguishes between three hygienic status areas to be applied during manufacturing to eliminate or reduce the risk of any microbiological hazards arising between the heat treatment, if any, and final packaging:
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
Raw High Care area (rHCA)
Cooked High Care area (cHCA)
The hygiene status areas highlighted are the minimum for each type of product. If there is doubt that the conditions applied might not effectively control the microorganisms of concern, a risk assessment and additional studies must be carried out. If there is still any doubt about the approach to be taken, expert advice should be sought.
Reference: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PREPACKAGED CHILLED FOOD, ECFF Recommendations December 2006