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Monday, July 2, 2012

Farm Food Safety: Compliance Documentation – Storage and Transportation Logs

Part 8 of Preparing Your Farm Food Safety Plan

- Meredith Melendez and Wes Kline

The USDA Good Agricultural Practices audit requires that certain activities on the farm be documented. These logs should accurately reflect what you have done on the farm to ensure food safety. If you do not write your activities down the auditor will assume that the activity never happened. This documentation may be new for many growers, so making it as easy as possible for you to comply will ensure that the documenting happens in a manner that is acceptable to an auditor. This is the eighth article in a series dedicated to preparing a farm food safety plan. Remember you may not need a third party audit; it depends on who is purchasing your produce. However, everyone should have a food safety plan.
Storage Temperature Log
Storage facilities that are refrigerated should be monitored daily during use. Make sure to check the temperature the same time each day to ensure correct temperatures. This log should indicate:
  • Date
  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Any necessary comments
  • Employees signature
Thermometer Calibration Log
Thermometers used in storages need to be check for accuracy once a month during the growing season. The thermometer used to check storage temperatures should be calibrated before using Your calibration log should include the following:
  • Date
  • Thermometer location number
  • Time
  • Temperature
  • Were corrective measures needed? (Yes or No)
  • If corrective measures were needed briefly describe them.
  • Date corrective action was completed
  • Employees initials
Calibration can be easily done. The following method is recommended by the USDA Food Safety Inpection Service:
Using the ice water method, fill a large glass with finely crushed ice. Add clean tap water to the top of the ice and stir well. Immerse the food thermometer stem a minimum of 2 inches into the mixture, touching neither the sides nor the bottom of the glass. Wait a minimum of 30 seconds before adjusting. (For ease in handling, the stem of the food thermometer can be placed through the clip section of the stem sheath and, holding the sheath horizontally, lowered into the water.) Without removing the stem from the ice, hold the adjusting nut under the head of the thermometer with a suitable tool and turn the head so the pointer reads 32 °F. If a digital thermometer is used it can be checked in the same way. If the digital thermometer is not reading correctly check the instruction for adjustments or replace.

Carrier Monitoring Log
Keeping track of and monitoring the trucks that carry your product to various markets is a key component of your traceability program. The following information should be documented for each load that is taken from your farm:

  • Date 
  • Time 
  • Carrier 
  • Trailer number
  • Drivers name 
  • Trailers last load (previous)
  • Is the trailer clean, dirty, or washed
  • Is the trailer refrigerated? (Yes or No) 
  • If the trailer is refrigerated what is the temperature.
  • What produce was loaded onto the trailer
  • Additional produce on the truck, if applicable.
  • Is there a temperature monitor installed in the trailer? (Yes or No)
  • Employees initials