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CAC/GL 21-1997 Principles for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria for Food

  • Published: 2013-07-25
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CAC/GL 21-1997 Principles for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria for Foods
These Principles are intended to give guidance on the establishment and application of microbiological criteria for foods at any point in the food chain from primary production to final consumption.

The safety of foods is principally assured by control at the source, product design and process control, and the application of Good Hygienic Practices during production, processing (including labelling), handling, distribution,storage, sale, preparation and use, in conjunction with the application of the HACCP system. This preventive approach offers more control than microbiological testing because the effectiveness of microbiological examination to assess the safety of foods is limited. Guidance for the establishment of HACCP based systems is detailed in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System and Guidelines for its Application (Annex to CAC/RCP 1-1969, Rev. 3- 1997).

Microbiological criteria should be established according to these principles and be based on scientific analysis and advice, and, where sufficient data are available, a risk analysis appropriate to the foodstuff and its use.

Microbiological criteria should be developed in a transparent fashion and meet the requirements of fair trade. They should be reviewed periodically for relevance with respect to emerging pathogens, changing technologies, and new understandings of science.
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