Preparatory Stage E: Describe the product

Statement

This requires a full description of the product or the intermediate product. This will help understanding of the presented hazards with the product/process and on what the product relies for safety.

How is this stage achieved?

This stage is essential for successful hazard identification and analysis (Principle 1.1).

Define the product in terms of:-

Parameter

Examples

Composition

Recipe, raw materials/ingredients and their origin

Structure

Aw, pH, emulsion,gel, liquid

Processing

Has the product been heated and if so, to what extent (e.g pasteurised).  Detail any other preservation methods such as brining, smoking

Packaging System

Aseptic packaging, glass bottles, vacuum

Storage

Product to be kept frozen, stored at ambient temperature

Distribution Conditions

Is the product to be distributed frozen, chilled or at ambient temperature

Required shelf life under conditions outlined

“Use by date” or “best before date”

Instructions for use

Think about storage, handling and cooking instructions.

Misuse

There is a need to consider the potential for misuse of the product.

Examples of misuse include consuming a product prior to cooking, storing a product differently to that intended e.g. freezing of a chilled/ambient product to be consumed at a later date, leaving a product for a long period of time believing that the product may improve with age, leaving chilled foods at elevated temperatures for long periods after purchase.

By considering misuse, instructions for intended use can be devised to increase consumer safety.