Every consumer wants to know that the food they are eating is safe. While a manufacturer, supplier, and distributor can all say “yes, we’re sure your food is safe,” you cannot rely on that to be fact. The only way for manufacturers to produce safe food is by ensuring there is a system in place to make it so. That system is known as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).
HAACP is a way in which to assure customers that in the harvesting through to consumption process, the corporation or business followed strict protocols. In essence, the goal of the programme is to stop any problems from occurring.
Within the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points programme, there are seven principles. These are as follows:
- Hazard analysis
- CCP identification
- Critical limits
- Monitoring procedures
- Corrective actions
- Verification procedures
- Record keeping and documentation
Such a rigorous system as HACCP also means that if any corporation, company, or manufacturer were to deviate from the system, authorities could identify in which step they veered off course and take corrective action. That corrective action could include removing hazardous products so that they do not reach a consumer.
Fortunately, manufacturers are not expected to understand the HACCP system right away. Instead, they can go through a HACCP course with food safety refreshers, HACCP principles and concepts, and more. Below, we cover the seven principles of HACCP for the benefit of both the manufacturer and the consumer.
Principle 1: Conduct a hazard analysis
A hazard analysis incorporates identifying hazards that could occur, causing injury or illness if a company or manufacturer fails to control them. To conduct a hazard analysis, the manufacturer would consider their ingredients, raw materials, processes (step by step), the storage of their products, how they distribute those products, final preparation, and finally when the consumer uses the product.
The analysis essentially covers any potential hazard that could be likely – but does not include those that would not be reasonably likely. It also doesn’t cover safety. Instead, when you conduct your hazard analysis as part of your HACCP plan, you would look at anything physical, biological, or chemical that could cause an injury or illness.
This first step is a critical one. If you do not include every minute detail of every hazard in your hazard analysis, none of the other actions within the HACCP system will be useful. The plan also plays a part as your basis for critical control points (CCPs) in the second principle.
Principle 2: Determine the critical control points (CCPs)
A critical control point (CCP) is where you can apply control to prevent or reduce a food safety hazard. This is where your hazard analysis is essential. You must outline all the information about the danger before you can put plans in place to control it.
Examples of critical control points can include things like testing ingredients for chemical residue or metal contaminants, or even thermal processing.
Principle 3: Establish critical limits
A critical limit is essentially the value – be it the maximum or minimum – to which you can control a biological, physical, or chemical hazard. The limit establishes what’s safe and what isn’t, but it’s not the same as operational limits which exist for reasons other than the safety of food.
Principle 4: Establish monitoring procedures
Monitoring procedures exist for observing, measuring, and assessing whether a critical control point within your HACCP system is controlled. Having monitoring procedures also offer a process to follow for monitoring, recording, and determining at which point a loss of control and deviation occurs. This means you have exceeded or not met your critical limit and you must now take corrective action.
Principle 5: Establish corrective actions
Principle five of your HACCP system relates to when you need to take corrective action to stop hazardous food items from reaching consumers. This step requires you to have plans in place to take corrective action in the best way possible.
Your corrective action plan should include correcting the cause of non-compliance, disposing of the non-compliant product, and recording the actions you have taken.
Principle 6: Establish verification procedures
The verification step of your HACCP system is to verify how valid each step in your plan is – including your identification of hazards, your CCPs, critical limits, and the verification procedure.
Principle 7: Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures
Record keeping is a crucial part of your HACCP plan. Within your records, you should have a hazard analysis summary, the overall HACCP plan, the team and responsibilities, descriptions of food with its intended use, distribution, consumers, and a verified flow diagram.
Your record-keeping should also have a plan summary table which outlines each of the seven steps and a summary for the position of each person responsible for performing which action.
Once you have created your HACCP system with all seven steps, then it’s time for top management in your corporation to facilitate it and put it into action. You must then work on a plan that outlines who’s responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the system.
About the Author
My name is Theresa Le Roux, I am originally from Montreal, Canada but I have spent the last 5 years in beautiful New Zealand. I write Digital marketing articles for businesses that want a different perspective on subjects that are important to their content output. I regularly contribute articles to Clickthrough.co.nz. I am a diehard Game of Thrones fan with a passion for novels and live music! My career goal is to one day write a novel of my own. Connect me via email [email protected].