haccp study report- tomatoes, raw

HACCP Study Report

High-Risk Item: Tomatoes, Raw

Critical Control Points: Preparing and Holding

HACCP Plan for Tomatoes, Raw

  1. Analyzing Hazards
    1. Raw tomatoes can pose a risk of bacteria, if not handled properly. 
  1. Determining CCPs
    1. Tomatoes are prepped, held, and served without cooking. Preparation and holding are determined to be the CCPs. Cleaning and drying the tomatoes’ surfaces during prep would reduce bacteria. Holding the tomatoes at the correct temperature could also prevent bacteria growth. Receiving has been ruled out as a CCP since MISD only purchases tomatoes from approved vendors.
  1. Establishing Critical Limits
    1. For the preparation CCP, the critical limit would be met by washing, gently scrubbing, and drying whole tomatoes. SOP for cleaning tomatoes should be created for washing techniques. For the holding CCP, the critical limit would mean tomatoes must be held at 41°F or lower. 
  1. Establishing Monitoring Procedures
    1. The kitchen manager should appoint a team leader to monitor the tomatoes’ critical limits. The team leader must observe the preparers to make sure they are preparing the tomatoes the correct way. The preparer must remove all surface dirt from the washed tomatoes. Then they must slice and portion into containers. The tomatoes should then be placed on trays, and into reach-in refrigerators until they are ready to be served and then moved to serving lines. The team leader must then monitor the temperature of the held tomatoes to make sure the holding critical limit is met. The internal temperature of the tomatoes must at or below 41°F.
  1. Identify Corrective Actions
    1. Sometimes after preparation, tomatoes still have surface dirt or are bruised from receiving. In the case of surface dirt, tomatoes should be rewashed and the team leader must approve the tomatoes before further action is taken. In the case of a severely bruised tomatoes, the team leader must inspect the tomatoes to determine if they are salvageable if not, the team leader will discard the tomatoes. 

To correct a holding temperature above 41°F, the team leader must check the temperature of all tomatoes on the serving line. Any tomato above 41°F must be thrown away.

  1. Verifying that the System Works
    1. To make sure that the system is working correctly, it is decided temperatures must be recorded daily in the HACCP log by the team leader. Each item must be checked and initialed. The team leader confirms that all corrective actions have been taken and recorded. 
  1. Establishing Procedure for Record Keeping
    1. Since foodborne illness associated with fresh produce can take as long as 16 weeks to emerge, all HACCP logs must be maintained for 16 weeks. 

This plan offered insight into the handling practices of raw tomatoes. This study revealed areas of potential bacteria growth. Tomato handling was not always in compliance with food handling guidelines. The most concern comes from lack of time and temperature control after cutting raw tomatoes. This is partially due to a lack of knowledge of how potentially hazardous a cut tomato is compared to an uncut tomato. 

This study contributed to valuable information about how kitchen staff handles raw, cut tomatoes. The Cafeteria Managers should educate each Student Nutrition Specialist on the classification of cut tomatoes as a potentially hazardous food (PHF), and identify and assist in correcting those practices.


ServSafe manager. (2012). Chicago: National Restaurant Association.