Jeff Koeze's Blog Good Food, Good Business, and the Good Food Business

7Feb/090

Studying the FDA’s Observations at PCA, #3

The FDA has posted the report on its inspections of the PCA facility on the FDA website, here.  As PCA has noted on its website, the FDA's findings are not final, and PCA will have the opportunity to respond.

Observation #3 sates that PCA recognized the roasting step as a "control point" for salmonella.  This indicates that PCA did in fact have a HACCP plan in effect, which is consistent with their ratings from AIB.  (See also PCA's statement on their AIB inspections.)

More interesting is the FDA's assertion that the effectiveness of this control point had not been proven for PCA's specific roaster.  Peanuts are typically roasted for 20-30 minutes at temperatures of 275 degrees F or more, which is enough to effectively sterilize them.  And though PCA could show records indicating that the nuts had in fact been roasted for that amount of time at such temperatures, this was not enough.  They had to show that these times and temperatures actually would produce control of salmonella.  Which means that they had to do an experiment in which they innoculate nuts with salmonella, put them in little mesh bags, run them through the roaster, and then test them.  This is consistent with the position the FDA took with respect to almond pasteurization after the last almond recall.

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