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What is HACCP?
HACCP (pronounced "hass-ip") is the simple but effective way to ensure food safety. HACCP stands for the "Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points" system. HACCP is a systematic approach to identifying and controlling hazards that could pose a threat to the safe production of food.HACCP has been in use in the food processing sector for some time but it is only since 1998 that the hospitality industry/sector and the retail sector have been obliged by law to implement a HACCP style food safety system in their business.
The original HACCP System
The first ever HACCP system was developed by the Pillsbury Company in response to a request by NASA to provide an alternative method of food safety control. Up to 1959 NASA had used sampling/testing at each stage of the production process to ensure that the foods consumed by astronauts in flight were free from contamination. Unfortunately this often resulted in very little of an original batch of food being available to take into flight when all the sampling was completed. The Pillsbury Company suggested a "preventative control" system as opposed to the "sampling control".This system would exercise control over:
- The quality of raw materials
- The processing system
- The environment in which the process occurred
- The personnel involved in the process
- The storage and distribution systems.
Essential to the effective working of this system was detailed specification and controls for each stage of the system and effective record keeping for these controls. These records allow clear traceability of each item through the system. This system allows for the tracing of any problems back to source as traceability was and is all important.
Main Components of the HACCP System
HACCP is, first and foremost, a proactive concept. The technique based on it treats the production of food as a total, continuous system, assuring food safety from harvest to consumption. included in this system are purchasing, receiving, storage, preparation, and service. Each of these components is evaluated by principals of a failure analysis. The premise is simple. If each step of the process is carried out correctly, the end product will be safe food. To design a HACCP style food safety system, management and staff must be familiar with the main components of the HACCP system and work these components into their particular food process.There are 7 main components of the HACCP system
- Identify the Hazards.
- Determine Control Points and Critical Control Points
- Monitor Critical Limits
- Take Corrective Action when monitoring indicates that Critical Limits have not been met
- Set Critical Control Limits
- Establish an effective Recording System
- Verify that the system is working as planned.
What are Hazards?
Hazards can best be defined as: "anything that could contaminate food or cause harm to the consumer".What are CCPs? CCP stands for Critical Control Points and is defined as a point, step or procedure in which food safety hazards can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced. Examples of CCPs include storage, defrosting, cooking, cooling, hot holding
What are Critical Limits?
These are the criteria that must be met for each preventative measure associated with a CCP. Critical limits may be set for preventative measures such as temperature, time, visual appearance.
What are monitoring procedures?
Monitoring is a planned sequence of observations or measurements to assess whether a CCP is under control and to produce an accurate record for future use in verification. Examples include:
- Visual Observations
What is corrective action?
Corrective action should be in place to deal with any potential hazards that may occur. For example, determining whether food should be disposed. Corrective action should be documented in the HACCP plan.
What is involved in a record keeping system?
- Listing HACCP team members and assigned responsibilities
- Monitor equipment with temperature logs
- Hazard assessment at each step in flow diagram
- Critical Limits established at each step
- Corrective action plans when there is a deviation in policy, procedure or standard
- Temperature recording of food stuffs throughout various process stages
What are verification procedures?
- Establishment of appropriate verification schedules.
- Review of HACCP plan.
- Review of CCP records
- Visual inspections of operations to observe whether CCPs are under control
- Random sample collection and analysis
- Review of modification of the HACCP plan
- Review of written record of verification inspections covering compliance, deviations, or corrective actions taken.
Food Hygiene Management can design and implement a complete HACCP system that is tailor made to suit your specific needs. Find out more
Food Hygiene Management, Hamilton House, 21 Mill St. Balbriggan, Co.Dublin