According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a staggering 48 million people in the USA are affected by foodborne illness each year. Of that number, 128,000 will be hospitalized while 3,000 people will tragically die.
Those 48 million people suffer because of a failure to identify and control food hazards at some point throughout the manufacturing, processing, or handling of food products.
Food poisoning is a serious problem and when the offending business is identified, they often find themselves liable. This can lead to heavy fines for the grower, food processor, or distributor. Reputational damage also follows and businesses may even be forced to close.
In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at how HACCP aims to identify and control potential hazards to protect both consumers and businesses from the consequences of foodborne illness.
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. The internationally-recognized system aims to reduce the risk of safety hazards in food.
The system protects people all around the world, but its origins are found in preparations for manned space programs back in the late 1950s. The system was initially developed by a team of food scientists and engineers to ensure food safety standards for space missions.
Interestingly, HACCP was largely driven to become the predominant food safety system by big players in the marketplace rather than regulators. Large chains like McDonald’s aimed to protect itself from food safety issues by demanding that its supply chain become HACCP compliant.
The system has evolved constantly over the years. It helps businesses throughout the food chain to identify and control potential biological, chemical, or physical hazards at specific points in the process.
The system is based on seven principles that ensure foods are kept safe from raw material production to procurement and handling, manufacturing, distribution, and consumption.
Here are those 7 principles
1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis
The first step is to identify any potential hazards. A range of possible control measures is identified at this point.
2. Identify the Critical Control Points
Critical Control Points (CCPs) are the points at which control can be applied to prevent, eliminate, or reduce the threat of a food safety hazard.
3. Establish Critical Limits
The critical limit (CL) is a maximum/minimum value that must be controlled at the CCP to prevent, eliminate, or reduce the occurrence of a food safety hazard. This will generally take the form of measurement like time, temperature, pH, etc.
4. Monitor Critical Control Points
It’s now important that businesses outline monitoring procedures to verify CLs are met. Businesses must outline how measurements will be taken, when, by who, and how frequently.
5. Establish Corrective Action
If an anomaly occurs, businesses must have a plan of action in place to assure that appropriate corrective action is taken and that it does not occur again.
6. Verify the HACCP Plan
The HACCP plan should be rigorously tested to make sure that it works according to the plan outlined above.
7. Record Information
It is critical that businesses work hard to record information because it can be used to prove that foods were produced safely. These records should contain a range of important information.
Let's take a look at the benefits of HACCP for your business.
Now that we have a better understanding of what HACCP is and how it helps to protect businesses and consumers, let’s dive deeper into the wider benefits that HACCP can offer you as a business owner.
1. Meet Your Legal Obligations
There are a series of strict food safety laws in the US. These laws are enforced by two key agencies- the FDA and FSIS. There is a wide range of food safety acts, amendments, and laws that you must be compliant with to run a safe and legal business.
HACCP - alongside additional food safety management systems - can help you to ensure that you are compliant with all of the various acts and laws outlined by the FDA and FSIS.
2. Protect Your Bottom Line
Food safety and hygiene offences carry large fines for offending businesses. The government can impose large fines and chase businesses down for cash, but there’s also the additional threat of litigation.
Customers may decide to pursue legal action and this can lead to costly legal proceedings and settlements. Even worse, those legal battles can lead to significant customer backlash that can affect the reputation of your brand.
HACCP helps you to avoid those costly situations to preserve the bottom line of your business and achieve profitability.
3. Win Over More Customers
When it comes to the food industry, reputation is everything for a business. If you are able to offer a pleasant and hygienic dining experience to your customers, you’ll find that your reputation will become stronger and stronger.
HACCP can give you the ability to install a laser focus on quality. This will guarantee you offer great foods and build a strong reputation that attracts more customers.
4. Elevate the Quality of Your Food Products
Food safety management systems direct the attention of food businesses to the right places. These various systems give you the ability to focus unwaveringly on quality and safety. This means that the quality of your food items is generally elevated.
5. Promote Efficiency within Your Team
Labor is one of the biggest costs for almost every business, and it’s important that your labor investments yield a greater ROI. Your team should work effectively to maximize their output and get you the results that you need.
FSMSs like HACCP reduce downtime. They provide the prompts and frameworks that keep your team working around the clock to make your business a success.
6. Provide Evidence of Due Diligence
If a customer becomes sick after eating your food, they may wrongly believe that your food product was the cause. This can become very problematic for you, but FSMSs like HACCP give you the chance to evidence the safety of your foods. HACCP generates a lot of accurate and sophisticated data that you can call upon to show that you have performed your due diligence. This data could make or break your defense in litigation and save your business.
7. Boost Employee Morale
Every employee wants to feel that they work for a quality employer that has a positive impact on the world. People within the food industry are particularly passionate about delivering a great experience to diners.
HACCP is a symbol of how your business takes food hygiene and safety very seriously. HACCP compliance can motivate and inspire your employees to boost morale.
HACCP certification is granted to compliant food businesses by an external authority. It is important that food businesses identify a reputable certification provider that can offer a rigorous audit or assessment.
The cost and duration of a HACCP audit will vary according to a range of factors, such as the size of the food business and the nature of the products that it produces.
Zip HACCP - The Best Food Safety Tool
When it comes to developing and maintaining a HACCP plan, most businesses struggle with the fourth principle - monitoring critical control points. This is one of the most complex principles, given that it requires the use of specialist tools and complex processes.
This is where Zip HACCP makes it simple to cook and store foods at safe temperatures. Here’s a look at why Zip HACCP is the best tool to secure food safety within your business.
Quick and Accurate Temperature Readings
Zip HACCP comes with a sophisticated temperature probe that provides quick and accurate temperature readings. The probe connects to the mobile application seamlessly over Bluetooth, eliminating the potential for complex setup procedures or failures.
Once a reading is taken, it’s automatically shared with Zip HACCP. This eliminates the need for the manual recording of results and guarantees 100% accuracy.
It’s always difficult to coordinate a team to make sure they perform the right tasks at the right time. This makes HACCP compliance particularly difficult, given that it is dependent upon the regular monitoring of foods.
Zip HACCP makes it simple, though. You can assign checklists and tasks to your employees so that they know what to do and when. This makes it easier for you to drive accountability within your business and make sure that every staff member is meeting your expectations.
When it comes to food hygiene, you need to keep a finger on the pulse of your business. You must have full visibility into the most important metrics within your business and monitor how those change over time.
Zip HACCP offers the meaningful reporting that you need. You can use the Zip HACCP app to dive into the various tasks and explore the health of your organization. Trend Reports show how your metrics evolve over time and give you the power to identify any potential issues.
Perfect Best Practice
It’s important that HACCP monitoring is approached in a consistent way. This will ensure that you achieve consistent and predictable results that make it simple for you to act. Making sure that every team member receives (and follows) the right training is a challenge, though.
Zip HACCP eliminates this risk by granting you the power to add explanations to your tasks. This helps your employees perform tests properly and then follow corrective actions properly in the event of a failed task.
HACCP demands that you carefully monitor critical control points. If a check is missed, this could create a problem further down the line and affect the safety of your food.
Our sophisticated system makes it simple for you to monitor those critical tasks. If a task is left uncompleted, management will receive a real-time notification through the mobile application.
Protect Your Brand with Zip HACCP - If you are serious about protecting your brand and practicing impeccable food hygiene, it’s time to get started with Zip HACCP. Our tool can help you to achieve HACCP compliance while unlocking the range of additional benefits that come with it.
Start your free Zip HACCP trial today to secure HACCP compliance while driving quality with real-time alerts, notifications, and valuable insights.