What is HACCP?
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a systematic approach to identifying and controlling hazards (microbiological, chemical or physical) that pose a danger to the preparation of safe food. HACCP seeks to control the safety of ingredients and supplies coming into a food business and what is done with them thereafter. The implementation of HACCP is a legal requirement for many American and most European food companies.
Benefits of HACCP
HACCP provides businesses with a cost effective system for control of food safety from receipt of ingredients through production, storage and distribution to sale and service of the final customer. The preventative approach of HACCP improves food safety management and also complements other quality systems. The main benefits of HACCP are
- Protect consumers from food poisoning
- Compliance with regulations
- Support a Due Diligence defense in court
- Focuses employees on food safety precautions
- Protects the business reputation
Before implementing HACCP, food businesses must already be operating to standards of Good Hygiene Practice by having appropriate prerequisite procedures or standard operating procedures (SOP) in place.
Prerequisite procedures are procedures for controlling a food operation in accordance with specifications such as FDA Food Code, CFIA Codes of Practice etc and industry specific regulations. Prerequisite procedures define essential food safety practices that should be in place as a prerequisite before and after a HACCP plan is implemented.
Once prerequisite procedures are in place, you can begin to build HACCP on top of these [More
The first things to do are
- Train staff in HACCP [More]
- Assemble staff into a small team and assign a team leader. The team leader leads in the design and implemention of HACCP. The team members should have a good knowledge of the food preparation process
- Apply the principles of HACCP to design and develop the HACCP system [More].
There are 7 principles of HACCP on which a food safety management system is based. A food safety system based on the principles of HACCP will enable hazards to be identified and controlled before they threaten the safety of your food and the health of your customers.
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- Identify the hazards. Look at each step (e.g. purchasing, delivery, storage, preparation, distribution etc) in your operation and identify potential food hazards.
- Determine the Critical Control Points(CCPs). Identify the points in your operation that ensures control of the food hazards.
- Establish Critical Limits. Set limits to enable you to identify when a CCP is out of control e.g. the minimum temperature required during pasteurization
- Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP. When CCPs and critical limits have been identified it is important to have a way to monitor and record what is happening at each CCP. Typically monitoring will involve measuring parameters such as temperature and time.
- Establish the Corrective Action. Corrective actions must be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control, e.g. the temperature of juice does not reach an acceptable level during pasteurization and therefore need to be reworked or discarded.
- Establish procedures for Verification. Verification activities seek to confirm the HACCP system is working effectively. Review and correct the system periodically and whenever you make changes to your operation e.g. new processing method, new ingredient, etc.
- Establish a documentation system. Documentation, procedures and records associated with HACCP have to be maintained and available for inspection. The implementation of HACCP leads to the creation of records and auditors will want to inspect these records to confirm adherence to HACCP principles. The aim should be to ensure control is maintained without generating excessive paperwork.
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