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Ranking of cross-contamination vectors of ready-to-eat foods - a practical approach 2007

The food industry seeks to minimise the risk of product contamination during manufacture by the use of hygienically designed factories and equipment, and the adoption of good hygienic and manufacturing practices and food safety management systems such as HACCP. However, the question still remains, where should the industry best spend its resources to maximise or improve contamination control? Food producers have finite hygiene resources and need to target these to achieve maximum benefit in terms of food safety, but how can they ensure this?

These guidelines are based on the findings of a CCFRA project that aimed to establish a clearer understanding of the risks of exposure of ready-to-eat foods from microbial contamination, by identifying the vectors involved in the transfer of contamination, determining the level of contamination, assessing transfer conditions and quantifying contamination transfer. Ranking of vectors using this approach shows clear differences between them in terms of microbial contamination transfer and identifies those that present the greatest risk to food, post-decontamination. Correct use of such information can help to reduce out-of specification product and recalls, increase product safety and reduce costs. Softcover: 59 pages