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Making hygiene assessment for process monitoring simpler

22 November 2023
Making hygiene assessment for process monitoring simpler

The red meat processing industry has changed dramatically in the past 20 years – but the system of hygiene assessment for process monitoring has not. In fact, the current system was last reviewed in 2002.

Process monitoring is the process involved in producing meat and anything that touches the meat.

AMPC is working towards the development of a revised ‘visual assessment system’ for meat hygiene assessment process monitoring, in consultation with industry and regulatory stakeholders. It follows a successful project with SARDI which was able to help industry better focus visual inspections on the products where contamination was most common.

AMPC Program Manager Ann McDonald says the goal is a risk-based approach.

“AMPC partnered with South Australia Research and Development Institute (SARDI) on industry trials to modernise the way establishments monitor and test product, resulting in a reduction in the number of KPIs in the Product Hygiene Index reporting, and an improved microbiological testing regime, which the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry rolled out across processing plants.

“We’re now looking at how a similar approach can be extended to process monitoring, by looking at whether contamination rates are higher on trays, knives, belts and so on, to come up with a system that matches the greatest effort with the greatest risk.”

Five processors are enrolled in new trials, which will begin early 2024, with outcomes to be reported by the end of the financial year.

“This important work will unlock the final element in an updated hygiene monitoring approach. A system for risk-based process monitoring in plants, complements the previous work on risk-based monitoring of visible contamination of product. Subject to regulatory approval, it will enable processors to apply resources in accordance with risk, leading to improved efficiency and effectiveness of production,” Ann says.

For more information, contact Ann McDonald at