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Viru-Clean Horticultural Efficacy  |  HACCP Approach to Greenhouse Biosecurity

Quality Assurance and the HACCP Approach to Greenhouse Biosecurity

Quality Assurance Schemes are becoming increasing important around the world for the production of safe produce. Governments are adopting an approach to disease control based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). Vet-Care’s Biosecurity Programmes are not only entirely consistent with these principles, but were developed significantly in advance of formal legislation. Vet-Care’s Biosecurity Assurance System provides a complete range of tools to manage a biosecurity quality assurance programme.

HACCP strategies identify pathogen hazards and areas where they may be controlled. The production chain is audited to ensure procedures are effective.

Principle 1: Hazard Analysis

To identify hazards, both microbiological and physical, at each step in the process, from receiving through to delivery.

Principle 2: Critical Control Points (CCPs)

At CCPs action can be taken to reduce or eliminate the hazard. For example, within the Vegetable greenhouse there are control points at which pathogen reduction can take place as part of a biosecurity programme.

  1. Site Security – Vehicle disinfection, wheel dips and foot dips
  2. Personal Hygiene – Protective clothing, hand hygiene and showering in and out
  3. Equipment – pruning knives etc.
  4. Aerial – Fogging the house to control airborne pathogens
  5. Rodent Control – Effective pest management programme

Terminal Disinfection Programme

Points 1 to 5 above form part of a continuous programme with Terminal Disinfection at the end of each cycle. The Vet-Care Biosecurity Programme gives full details of the action to be taken at each Control Point, with Terminal Disinfection broken down into a number of stages for effective control.

Attention must be paid to personnel hygiene throughout the process, with the use of protective clothing, hand hygiene, foot dips and showering in and out where possible.

Principle 3: Critical Limits

Establish acceptable limits for each hazard identified. Cleaning and disinfecting in accordance with Vet-Care’s Biosecurity Programme will ensure that microbiological hazards meet those limits. Below is a table showing suggested critical limits of disease organisms following disinfection. Total Viable Counts are the total number of microorganisms cultured.

  Satisfactory   Doubtful   Un-satisfactory
Primary Areas
0-100 100-500 500-1000 1000-2500 2500+
Secondary Areas
0-10 10-50 50-100 100-300 300+

TVC = Total Viable Count per sq.cm.

Primary Areas are those which have most organic challenge, such as floors. Secondary Areas are those which have less organic challenge, such as posts.

Principle 4: Monitoring

Observation and measurement of cleaning and disinfecting to ensure the critical limits are met at each step. Research shows that there are four key areas for control of contamination:

  1. Hard surfaces - Concrete floors
  2. Porous surfaces - Timber
  3. Equipment - Pruning knives
  4. Moveable equipment and personnel.

Principle 5: Correction

Action that must be taken if the critical limits are not met at each step. A review of the application procedure to ensure that it is in accordance with guidelines.

Principle 6: Recording

Records must be kept showing that the biosecurity programme is in place and implemented correctly and continuously. Records should be kept of products used, critical limits, cleaning schedules and any corrective actions taken. A complete set of records are important for legal action and may form part of a current Quality Scheme e.g. BS EN ISO 9002.

Principle 7: Verification

Tests and procedures to ensure the HACCP system is working properly. Often performed by an outside person or organisation, for example third party verification of bacteriology tests, calibration checks and dosing tests.

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