The Beginner’s Guide to HACCP
Suppose you recently entered the food industry by starting your own food business. In that case, chances are you’ve heard of the food safety program that is Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point HACCP.
Food safety is an aspect of this industry that business owners can never disregard. The fate of a food business lies both in the quality of its products and the safety of its services.
The food industry has implemented the use of HACCP or at least a risk-based food safety program for food businesses to ensure a high level of standards for food safety.
Food safety compliance is not an easy task, but it is mandatory to continue operating. Some businesses even hire professionals to help them through the process.
Learn about the significance of the HACCP food safety program and the essential principles that make up its structure.
What Is HACCP, And Is It Important For My Food Business?
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, more commonly known as HACCP, is a systematic and scientific approach to food safety. It is a food safety program built to address potential food safety hazards in a food business by analyzing risks and establishing critical control measures and monitoring procedures.
The HACCP program was initially launched in the 1950s by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Army Laboratories, and Pillsbury’s food company. The developers of the HACCP program based the system on NASA’s engineering department’s critical control point system.
The food industry has now adopted the HACCP program. Originally, food safety professionals created the program to produce safe food products for space exploration. HACCP serves as the standard for many other food safety programs.
The nature of HACCP lies in the identification and analysis of potentially present hazards in a food production system. It aims to address these hazards even before they proliferate and cause harm to public health.
The preventive nature of the HACCP program saves lives in the community. Additionally, it saves the economy and food businesses the trouble of extra costs from foodborne illnesses, food waste, and additional health care.
How To Make A HACCP Plan?
As a beginner, making a HACCP plan means reading a lot of related materials, understanding your whole process, and countless hours of analyzing your food safety management system. As we have mentioned, food safety is not an easy task, but it is necessary if you want to keep running your business.
Starting a HACCP plan requires several steps before making the actual food safety program. Food safety agencies and allied fields have listed the following tasks in preparation for HACCP plan-making:
- Assemble your food safety team.
- Describe your product and its intended distribution.
- Define the intended use of your product and its target market.
- Create a flow chart of your processing system.
- Verify the flow chart.
Your team must be composed of members from the different departments of your food business. A HACCP plan considers all aspects of the processing system to keep the food safe. Preparation for the HACCP plan-making process also requires fulfilling prerequisite programs that ensure a safe and conducive environment for food processing.
What Are The Main Principles Of HACCP?
The process of HACCP plan-making starts with understanding the seven major principles of the program. These principles serve as a step-by-step guide to adequately addressing food safety hazards. Every step requires careful evaluation and significantly contributes to the success of food safety.
- Identify and analyze hazards. All potential hazards must be clearly identified and characterized at the beginning of the plan-making process. Your team must properly analyze every step of the manufacturing process to help the team establish appropriate actions for their control.
- Establish critical control points for each hazard. At this point, your team must establish operations to control the risks to acceptable limits. This principle includes identifying whether the hazard requires critical operations or if prerequisite programs are enough to address them.
- Determine critical limit. This step aims to establish standards for determining if a particular hazard is still within acceptable limits. Food safety teams must use reliable and factual information from food safety laws and published food processing materials to develop critical limits.
- Set up monitoring procedures. Your team must regularly monitor all operations to ensure compliance with every food safety program. Proper recording of all important parameters to determine if the food operations are functioning is required.
- Establish corrective actions. If a step within the food safety program fails, food handlers must prepare immediate measures to contain the problem. Corrective actions aim to return the hazard values to acceptable levels or serve as a deciding step to either reprocess or dispose of the products.
- Identify verification procedures. Food safety teams must establish verification procedures to determine if the HACCP food safety system is working efficiently. Your team may use this step to reevaluate and improve the whole system.
- Initiate documentation and record-keeping steps. Records serve as proof of whether your current food safety system is working or not. Your food safety team must properly collect all forms in case of an inspection.
Every year, millions of consumers fall ill because of foodborne related cases. As a beginner in the food industry, it is part of your responsibility to fulfill all necessary steps to protect public health. It would be no use to be serving high-quality foods that will only make customers sick.
Food safety must be consistently maintained in a food business. All food handlers must take part in your established food safety program. They must be aware of how HACCP works and how it can save your food business from unnecessary distress.
Ensure food safety compliance by constantly reviewing and improving your HACCP plan according to the community’s demands and current food safety laws.