Step 6: Provide a Written Standard Operating Procedure for Sanitation

Small Meat Processors August 27, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF


Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) document the steps that must be taken to ensure proper sanitation throughout a meat plant, both for food contact areas and elsewhere. SSOPs must be clear and detailed enough that staff following the SSOPs will clean all areas to adequately maintain food safety. SSOPs are the foundation of HACCP, and all HACCP plans must require that SSOPs are not only documented when they are performed but that they are also reviewed at least once a year.

SSOPs can be very simple or extremely complex depending on the task. An individual SSOP should include:

  • WHO is responsible for the SSOP being performed
  • WHAT is to be cleaned - equipment or area identified by common name
  • WHEN or how often the SSOP is to be performed
  • HOW to disassemble the area or equipment, the method of cleaning and sanitizing, and tools necessary to clean the equipment or area.

There are two kinds of SSOPs: pre-operational and operational. Pre-operational SSOPs indicate how facilities and equipment are cleaned and sanitized before processing begins. Pre-operational SSOPs are usually conducted at the end of one work day to prepare for the next work day. Operational SSOPs are about cleaning equipment and facilities during plant operations. For example, cleaning knives and surfaces, and maintaining clean aprons and/or frocks.

Chapter 9 Code of Federal Regulations Section 416 requires that you develop written SSOPs tailored to your plant before the plant can be granted inspection. More information on Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures

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Step 7: Provide a Written Hazard Analysis and HACCP Plan

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.