9 CFR 381.304 - Operations in the thermal processing area.
(a)Posting of processes. Process schedules (or operating process schedules) for daily production, including minimum initial temperatures and operating procedures for thermal processing equipment, shall be posted in a conspicuous place near the thermal processing equipment. Alternatively, such information shall be available to the thermal processing system operator and the inspector.
(b)Process indicators and retort traffic control. A system for product traffic control shall be established to prevent product from bypassing the thermal processing operation. Each basket, crate or similar vehicle containing unprocessed product, or at least one visible container in each vehicle, shall be plainly and conspicuously marked with a heat sensitive indicator that will visually indicate whether such unit has been thermally processed. Exposed heat sensitive indicators attached to container vehicles shall be removed before such vehicles are refilled with unprocessed product. Container loading systems for crateless retorts shall be designed to prevent unprocessed product from bypassing the thermal processing operation.
(c)Initial temperature. The initial temperature of the contents of the coldest container to be processed shall be determined and recorded by the establishment at the time the processing cycle begins to assure that the temperature of the contents of every container to be processed is not lower than the minimum initial temperature specified in the process schedule. Thermal processing systems which subject the filled and sealed containers to water at any time before process timing begins shall be operated to assure that such water will not lower the temperature of the product below the minimum initial temperature specified in the process schedule.
(d)Timing devices. Devices used to time applicable thermal processing operation functions or events, such as process schedule time, come-up time and retort venting, shall be accurate to assure that all such functions or events are achieved. Pocket watches and wrist watches are not considered acceptable timing devices. Analog and digital clocks are considered acceptable. If such clocks do not display seconds, all required timed functions or events shall have at least a 1-minute safety factor over the specified thermal processing operation times. Temperature/time recording devices shall correspond within 15 minutes to the time of the day recorded on written records required by § 381.306.
(e)Measurement of pH. Unless other methods are approved by the Administrator, potentiometric methods using electronic instruments (pH meters) shall be used for making pH determinations when a maximum pH value is specified as a critical factor in a process schedule.