HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. It is a seven-step process in which a food establishment or producer can use to develop a food safety plan. HACCP is a food safety as well as risk management and assessment plan that was originally created by NASA and a handful of food safety specialists from The Pillsbury Company and the Natick Research Laboratories in the late 1950's. The team originally designed a system to ensure food safety for the manned space program.
Toward the late 1980's, multiple publications fought to place HACCP as the predominant food safety system in the country. HACCP should be applied to every process throughout the different food supply chain stages, including the 3 P's (there's production, there's preparation, and there's packaging) and distribution.
HACCP is a unique system that's intended to help you reduce food safety issues that may arise. Its main focus is to prevent potential physical and chemical, as well as biological hazards, that can be created when food is being manufactured. The intent of HACCP is to ensure the finalized manufactured product that makes it in front of customers one way or another is totally safe, ultimately creating an aim to discover any potential hazards so that the highest quality control measures can be accurately designed. When it's needed, those control measures would be implemented to cut down on the likelihood that any hazards are occurring.
7 Steps of HACCP
The seven steps or seven principles of the hazard analysis and critical control points were put in place in 1989 by The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. The 7 principles are included in the international standard and are implemented in many food safety programs all over the world. The seven steps or principles are broken down like this
Step 1 - Conduct a Risk Investigation
The application of this principle involves listing the steps within the procedure and identifying where important dangers are most likely to happen. The HACCP team will focus on hazards that are likely to be suppressed, eliminated or controlled by the HACCP plan. A justification for including or excluding the dangers is detailed and possible control measures are identified.
Step 2 - Identify the CCP
The (CCP) is a point, step or procedure at which control should always be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels.
The HACCP team will use a CCP conclusion tree to help identify each of the CCPs in the process. A CCP or critical control point may control more than one food safety hazard or in some cases more than one CCP is needed to control a single hazard. The amount of CCP's needed relies on the steps within processing as well as the control required to reassure the safety of the food.
Step 3 - Establishing a Critical Limit
Knowing what the critical limit (CL) is is of the utmost importance here. It's the highest and/or lowest value to which a biological, chemical, or tangible measurable factor should be managed at a CCP to prevent, eliminate, or decrease to a sustainable measure the occurrence of safety hazards within the product. The CL or critical limit is usually a measure such as time, temperature, water activity (Aw), pH, weight, or some other measure that is based on scientific literature and/or regulatory standards.
Step 4 - Monitor CCP
The HACCP team is entrusted to describe monitoring procedures for the quantification of the critical limit at individual critical control points. Monitoring procedures should describe how the measurement should be obtained, when each measurement is obtained, whose responsibility it is for the measurement and how frequently each measurement is completed during production. Step
5 - Establish Corrective Action
Corrective or restorative actions are the procedures that are followed if a deviation in the critical limit occurs. The HACCP team will identify the steps that will be taken to obstruct foods with potential hazards from entering the food sequence and to correct the process certain steps are needed. This usually includes recognition of the problems and the steps taken to satisfy that the problem will not occur again.
Step 6 - Verification
Those pursuits, outside of monitoring, that establish the soundness of an HACCP plan and that each system is working in accordance to the plan. The HACCP team may distinguish ventures including the auditing of CCP's, reviewing records, previous shipment analysis, mechanism calibration as well as product evaluation as a major point of the verification activities.
Step 7 - Record Keeping
A key element of the HACCP plan is recording information that can be utilized to demonstrate that a food was produced safely. The records also need to include details regarding the HACCP plan. Documentation should contain data on the HACCP Team, product description, flow diagrams, the hazard analysis, the CCP's identified, Critical Limits, Observation System, Corrective Actions, Recordkeeping Procedures, and Verification Procedures.
Why the HACCP Important to Business Owners and Consumers Alike
There are things that people typically do not want to worry about in their day to day lives. The overall safety of their food is one of those things that people want to be guaranteed before they ever buy the product.
Most people just want to go to the store, buy their food, get home and cook it without worrying about the process that each individual item has to go through before it can be packaged and sold.
This is why there are plans like this in place to protect people and keep them healthy without over-worrying them. Americans eat a total of 815 billion calories of food each and every day.
The vast majority of those people purchase their food already cooked or prepared, cook their food or order their food from restaurants without thinking of what process that food went through to ensure that it is safe to consume.
There are a ton of guidelines that each piece of food must go through before it is deemed safe to serve and safe to eat. Those guidelines are listed above.
For restaurants and other food service establishment owners, the HACCP is a vital partner in making sure that the food that arrives at their facility is of the highest and most servable quality. This doesn't just make those businesses reputable it also prevents against bad reviews and potential lawsuits.
The overall objective of HACCP is to keep people healthy by not allowing tainted or unpassable foods to be purchased, at any stage, by consumers While there are always risks when cooking food, such as cross-contamination or consuming undercooked meats, poultry and eggs, HACCP's job is to make sure that the food is safe through every single stage of the process.
From raw material production to consumption of the finished product HACCP is constantly protecting the public from harm caused by unsafe food. While following the HACCP guidelines and steps on your own as a business owner is the easiest way to make sure you stay within the parameters and ensure that you are serving and providing the safest food possible, most experts recommend investing extra money in HACCP kits to be positive you are following all guidelines and rules exactly.
How to Apply These Principles to Your Business
There are multiple ways to get started on applying these principles to your food business successfully.
Professional HACCP kits are readily available and will outline in a step-by-step process on how to apply everything the HACCP recommends to your foodservice business. The majority of these professional kits come with any number of resource tools, templates and instructional guides which make the application process easier.
Depending on how simple your setup is, you can certainly do it yourself, but the only way to be sure you are following each guideline exactly and correctly is to apply HACCP to your specific business through specially designed kits.
Food safety is constantly and always evolving. In the future, it is anticipated that we will see further improvements that will allow the United States food processing industry to deliver and provide safer food products to their consumers on a global level.
While food safety continues to improve HACCP stands on the front line and changes with the times. With standards getting higher every year, the industry will need to improve just as quickly.
These changes are not only at the personal business level but at the national and international level as well. Staying ahead of the changing landscape is something that business owners rely on to not only maintain proper health standards but to protect themselves and their consumers.
60 percent of restaurants in the United States fail within their first year. In most cases a lack of revenue is to blame for unsuccessful businesses, however, there are a lot of cases where food safety is to blame.
If there are any issues with hazardous products within the first year of a restaurant's life it is nearly impossible for that business to recover. If a new restaurant adopts the values and extensive practices of the HACCP early in its life, the likelihood that it will succeed and get past that first year grow exponentially.
There are multiple factors working against new restaurant owners within the first twelve months. If a new owner can eliminate food safety issues from that list of early hindrances they have a better than thirty percent chance of surviving that first year and a great chance at growing a young business into something substantial.
Following these guidelines is not only a must for owners and proprietors but it is essential for the safety and health of their customers as well.