c. Microbial Spoilage. Depending upon the microorganisms present in the
product, microbial spoilage may certainly be a potential health hazard.
(1) Characteristics of botulism contamination. Food poisoning types of
other than Clostridium botulinum are rarely found in canned foods. Clostridium
botulinum has been the cause of many deaths from consumption of home-canned
foods. Since commercial heat processes are regulated by FDA and USDA, the problem
is very rare in commercially canned foods. In addition to its deadly toxin, Clostridium
botulinum normally produces gas from most sugars (and thus swells the container) or
digests the low-acid canned food. Therefore, the person opening the container has
some indication of its presence. When an odor is produced, it is putrefactive, not fecal
or sour, but sickening.
(2) Other potential contaminants. Other food poisoning types are extremely
rare and have not been found in commercially canned foods in the US. Salmonellae
and staphylococci produce no spores to survive heating and are therefore of no
consequence in commercially canned foods. While Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus
cereus produce spores, they have very little heat resistance in comparison with the
spore-forming spoilage types. In addition, since Clostridium perfringens is a profuse
gas producer, it would burst most containers of canned foods.
d. Foreign Material. Foreign material must exceed certain formal guidelines to
present a potential health hazard. The type of foreign material found on the product will
also determine the health hazard potential.
e. Deterioration From Unknown Cause. If the cause for a deteriorative
condition is unknown, the veterinary officer will make the decision as to whether a
potential health hazard is present or not.
a. Inspector Actions. Utilizing all known information regarding the deteriorative
semiperishable items, you will make recommendations concerning the product.
Complete the appropriate forms and reports in accordance with local SOP.
b. A Potential Health Hazard. If you determine that a potential health hazard
exists or is suspected to exist, you must notify the veterinary officer.
c. Destination/Procurement Inspection. If you find no potential health hazard
in a destination/procurement inspection, you must determine the compliance of the
product based upon comparison of known information with information taken from the
inspection data packet or local SOP.