The following worksheets are intended to serve as templates to cover most of the documentation and record keeping that will occur as part of a typical fresh produce food safety program. Not every size and type of operation will need to use every sheet, but most operations will want to capture and record most of the information these sheets are designed to document. It is expected these sheets will serve as a foundation and inspiration for further customization. For example, some operations may find it beneficial to create separate log sheets to document the cleaning and sanitation of different types of equipment or different areas within a packing facility. Separate log sheets for different washing or sanitizing tanks may be useful as well. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what works best for your operation.
Proper record keeping protocols:
• Always fill in information in real time. Never fill in information after the fact. When things are busy, it is always tempting to wait to record information after performing an inspection or a test. This is a good way to introduce errors into one’s documentation and sends up a red flag to third-party auditors.
• Never falsify information. The temptation is obvious, but the fact is inspectors and auditors will almost certainly be much more concerned about falsified information or test results than about missing data.
• If an error is made in entering information, do not erase or obscure it. The proper protocol to correct a mistake is to put a single line through the erroneous entry, write in the correct information and initial the change. If for some reason the correction occurs some period of time after the information is originally entered, make a note of the time/date of the correction and the reason for the delayed correction on the page.
Remember: Record it or regret it!
Acknowledgement: These worksheets were adapted from documents originally developed by Robert B. Gravani, Ph.D., Elizabeth A. Bihn, M.S., and others at the Cornell University Department of Food Science.
A Note on Calibration of Your Thermometer1
Melting point of ice method (requires a thermometer that may be calibrated by adjusting a movable back plate on which temperature gradations appear):
1. Place ice in a container and let it melt.
2. Stir to make sure the temperature in the ice/water mixture is uniform throughout the container.
3. When the ice is partially melted and the container is filled with a 50/50 ice and water solution, insert the thermometer and wait until the needle indicator stabilizes. The thermometer should be 32°F (0°C).
4. If the thermometer is not reading 32°F (0°C), it should be adjusted by holding the head of the thermometer firmly and using a small wrench to turn the calibration (hex) nut under the head until the indicator reads 32° (0°C).
An important item to remember as you are calibrating your thermometer using the melting point of ice method is to never add water to ice to create an ice/water mixture because this mixture will not stabilize at 32°F (0°C) for some time, but will instead be at higher temperatures. The calibration will be much more accurate if you allow ice to melt to create an ice/water mixture.
1This thermometer calibration information is taken from “Food Store Sanitation,” 1998, Sixth Edition, Gravani, Robert B., Rishoi, Don C., Cornell University Food Industry Management Distance Education Program, Lebhar-Friedman Books, Chain Store Publishing Corp.
FAPC Horticultural Products Processing Specialist
Horticulture Food Crops Extension and Research Specialist