How We Ensure The SAFETY Of Our Products
June 11, 2023
Today, I want to let you know about some of the steps we take to ensure the safety of the products you buy from our farm.
PREVENTION is the first step. A few of the practices include:
- No pasture foot ware inside the plant. So, folks have inside foot ware (typically rubber boots) they use inside the plant. This helps keep out contaminants
- Active pest management plan to take care of any problems outside so they don't come inside the plant.
- Animals attract flies so we have fly bait traps strategically placed to capture flies away from door openings, etc.
The following are some examples from our HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) Plan.
- Standard Sanitation Operation Program is a three page checklist of items that are verified both Pre-Operational and During Operations. The SSOP includes things like Slaughter area product contact surfaces are in good order and cleaned and sanitized after operations. No person with illness, or open/infected wounds are allowed to handle foods or food contact surfaces. Employees wash hands properly after using the bathroom or handling objects that may contaminate products. Waste materials are properly contained and removed from the processing area. No accumulation of waste materials allowed.
- We have a "Slaughter Log" where details are recorded for each animal. Here is where we also record results of monitoring CCP's (Critical Control Points). Here is a picture of the log at our workstation.
- Our CCP #1 requires ZERO visible fecal material, milk, or ingesta on carcasses after final wash down. Again, prevention plays a big part here - so we take extra steps during slaughter to prevent these materials from getting onto the carcass in the first place. Then, at the final wash we start at the top of the carcass and wash down as we go. Once complete, the carcass is weighted and a tag added that includes the date, Tag No. and Net Weight.
- CCP #2 involves our Antimicrobial Preparation and Application Log. Our process was adopted from research from The University of WI and includes how to prepare the Acetic Acid (white vinegar & water) mix as well as When to apply and how to apply the Antimicrobial Rinse.
- CCP #3 is Carcass Temperature Monitoring - here we have 24 hours to cool the carcass to 40 degrees or less... and keep it there. Our practice requires that we monitor and record random carcass temperatures twice per day. A properly washed carcass + antimicrobial rinse + a properly chilled carcass work together to ensure a safe product.
- Testing our HACCP Acetic Acid protocol to validate the rinse effectively reduces pathogens below acceptable levels. Here we collect sponge samples prior to and after applying the antimicrobial rinse from four randomly selected carcasses. Please note the use of sterile gloves to prevent possible false reports.
- Lastly, both the pre-sponge sample and post sponge sample are delivered to Bonner Analytical Lab where they will test for Aerobic Plate Count and generic E.coli. Each sample has its own form to be completed. Upon receipt of the sample from Beth the lab signs a "chain of custody" acceptance.
- For beef, pork, and chicken the process is very similar. The good news is our process is working because our team has delivered safe product without a single issue. What a blessing.
One of the questions I'm often asked is "Do the inspectors give you a hard time?" Well, no not really... The key to work with the inspectors is three fold- talk to them about what you want to do; engage them in the process; and do not surprise them. Pretty simple.
Well, I know this may be long and even boring to some, but hopefully you appreciate knowing that Nature's Gourmet Farm goes the extra distance to ensure our products you feed your family is not only healthy but also safe.
At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that will evolve around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems.
** Product Availability Update **
Chicken - Next harvest date is June 13th with restock the following day. Starting in June our batch sizes will increase to meet demand. Processing will continue for twice per month for the balance of the year.
Eggs - Eggs are in stock. Please note that the sale ended with deliveries May 31st. We appreciate your participation in our egg sale.
Beef - Restocked May 19th. Next restock will be about June 23rd. Tallow (rendered) was added 6/02
Pork - Restocked April 28th. Bacon was added Monday, May 8th. We plan to restock pork again late June 2023. Reg. Lard added 5/31
Lamb - Restocked April 28th. Next restock will not be until July timeframe.