Information & Support
Alternative techniques and new technologies
For approval of an alternative process or technique, a proposal must be submitted to PrimeSafe with a HACCP plan including procedures that verify the food safety equivalence. The food safety level must be equal to or higher than the technique described in the Standards. The proposal must include one of the following:
Validation of the alternative technique through the use of microbiological analysis (where appropriate) confirming that the proposal demonstrates an equivalent or better outcome required by the relevant Standard.
Note: The microbiological analysis must include a comparison of the microbiological results achieved using procedures that comply with the relevant Standard and the results achieved using the proposed alternative techniques.
Verification of a technique from a recognised scientific or credible source that has validated the technique. Monitoring records are required to verify that the alternative technique is implemented correctly in the current facility.
Examples of Alternative Processes
Cooking and Cooling
The Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS4696:2007) requires meat and meat products to have a heat treatment at a temperature of 65°C for at least 10 minutes.
The Australian Standard (AS4696:2007) also covers cooling requirements for cured and uncured meat products so that the temperature of the meat products at the site of microbiological concern is controlled. After cooking, meat products that are:
- Cured are reduced from 52°C to 12°C within 7.5 hours and reduced to 5°C within 24 hours of completion of cooking.
- Uncured are reduced from 52°C to 12°C within 6 hours and reduced to 5°C within 24 hours of completion of cooking.
Cooking and/or cooling time and temperature that differs from the requirements stated in the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products (AS4696:2007) requires an approval from PrimeSafe.
High Pressure Processing
High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a cold pasteurization technique in which food is processed under very high pressure without the use of heat resulting in the inactivation of certain microorganisms present in foods. High Pressure Processing can improve food shelf-life and delay spoilage while retaining the sensory characteristics of the final product. HPP is not universally applied to all foods and food characteristics such as pH, water activity, temperature and fat may have an effect on microbial inactivation potential.
Sous Vide is a cooking technique that involves the process of vacuum sealing food in a bag at precisely controlled time and temperature combination in water baths or steam ovens. Generally, sous vide products are cooked at lower temperatures in comparison to other cooking methods and are cooked for a period of time that is sufficient to produce safe food. To reduce the risk associated with sous vide foods it must be carefully monitored and not cooked for longer than 6 hours at low temperatures (below 54.5°C).
The potential risks in Sous Vide cooking are:
- Survival of bacteria that can grow under an anaerobic environment created by vacuum packaging (i.e. Clostridium botulinum).
- Growth of cold tolerant pathogens when stored under refrigeration for long periods of time
- Food held in the temperature zone (5°C to 60°C) for a long period of time may result to the growth of bacteria.
- Survival of microorganisms when foods are cooked at low temperature for short period of time.