management | 6 mins read

The 7 Principles of HACCP Explained

the 7 principles of haccp explained
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

Introduction

HACCP is the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points when dealing with food that is meant for consumer consumption. It was designed in the 1960s as a way to manufacture food for space flights.

What first originated as 3 principles have now grown to 7 HACCP standards to ensure the highest quality grade of food preparation and production.

HACCP isn't a system that was set in place to simply inspect products post-production to determine whether or not foods were hazardous although this is a very important component to the equation.

Instead, these critical control points are part of a developed system to make sure that all ready to serve food is, in fact, safe for humans to eat.

Here are the 7 principles of HACCP that if followed will make sure that potential hazards are not only identified but also aids in overseeing all aspects of your surroundings so that you have full control over all food production.

Any company that is involved in handling or in food production can use this system to minimize the risk of serving unacceptable quality dishes.

Here is how you can establish HACCP in your restaurant today.

Creating a HACCP System

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If you're implementing a HACCP system, it's best to also implement prerequisite programs. These two together can make sure your product never gets contaminated.

Prerequisite programs are put in place to make sure the environment stays clean. These programs are used to control hazards in the environment. Ensuring you're working in a hygienic environment is the first step to preventing product contamination.

HACCP systems are implemented for each product or process. They identify potential hazards within the production process. After potential hazards are identified, controls are put in place to make sure hazards cause as little damage as possible.

Why Use HACCP?
We live in a digital world where bad news spreads much quicker than good news. Social media, chat apps, and online news outlets are all contributing factors.

Getting accused of serving expired food can cause you to lose quite a few customers and maybe even get health inspectors knocking on your door.

Using a HACCP certification program can help you reduce the chances of these things happening.

HACCP is based on the following 7 principles

  1. Perform a Hazard Analysis
  2. Determine Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  3. Determine Critical Limits for Each CCP
  4. Institute Monitoring Procedures
  5. Establish Corrective Actions
  6. Implement Record-Keeping Procedures
  7. Institute Verification Procedures

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One - Perform a Hazard Analysis

The initial stage of HACCP. This is where you identify where hazards can come up.

Hazards come in 3 categories

  1. Physical such as metal contamination
  2. Biological for example, bacteria
  3. Chemical such as a cleaning product
Your company might not always have the knowledge to perform a hazard analysis. You need to acknowledge this fact and start looking for outside help. You might want to hire a company or person that knows how to identify potential hazards.

There are 2 steps to hazard analysis. The first step is to identify the hazard, while the second step is to evaluate how big a risk that hazard poses to the process or consumer.

After this, critical control points must be identified and used to control the hazard and make sure it doesn't do any harm.

Two - Determine Critical Control Points (CCPs)

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If you already know your hazards, the next step is to identify critical control points. These are points in the process at which you can control the hazard to minimize, eliminate, or reduce its effect to an acceptable level.

CCPs can be used to monitor any one single parameter. They can be used to make sure nutrients are always correctly listed on the label; make sure the fridge is kept at the correct temperature, and similar.

Three - Determine Critical Limits for Each CCP

The next thing to do is to determine critical limits for each CCP. A critical limit's purpose is to determine if a potential physical, chemical, or biological hazard is within an acceptable value or not. If this limit is exceeded, corrective actions need to be taken.

For example, if you're refrigerating meat, it needs to be kept under 41F. This means that you'll need to set the critical limit at 41F. In this case, a value of 39F is acceptable, but a value of 43F isn't.

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Four - Institute Monitoring Procedures

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Now that you've determined what you'll be measuring, it's time to find out how you'll be measuring it.

CCPs need to be constantly monitored to make sure they don't breach their critical limits, and if they do, it needs to be quickly fixed.

If you can perform continuous measurement on a CCP, that's the best option. But it's very likely that you can't. In cases such as these, physical measurements are needed. An employee will need to regularly measure the CCP to make sure it is within the safe zone.

For example, if you're refrigerating meat, you might want to manually check the temperature with a thermometer to make sure the sensor is showing correct values.

Five - Establish Corrective Actions

Once you've implemented monitoring procedures, you're ready to establish corrective actions. These are actions that need to be completed if a CCP goes over the critical limit, and they must make sure that no harmful product gets out of production.

For example, the 2-4 hour rule states that any refrigerated food that's kept at more than 41F for more than 4 hours must be thrown out to avoid hazards.

In this case, throwing out the food is corrective action.

Corrective actions have 2 purposes

  1. To control any process deviations that happens due to loss of control
  2. To find the cause and make sure it doesn't happen again

Six - Implement Record-Keeping Procedures

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This step involves determining which records you need to keep in order to know which control points gave you more trouble than others and to show that the system is working as intended.

Depending on where your business is, you might be required by law to keep different documents and records in case a health inspection asks to see them.

Seven - Institute Verification Procedures

The final of the 7 principles of a HACCP plan. Once you've implemented your HACCP plan, you need to make sure it stays effective in preventing potential hazards.

Perform regular verification checks, see if the measurement equipment is working properly, make sure corrective actions have the desired effect, and more.

Conclusion

Implementing a HACCP system will make sure your products are always top-quality. You'll also be relieved to know that any time a health inspection knocks, you can answer the door with confidence that you'll pass the inspection.

All 7 principles of a HACCP plan need to be accurately followed to make sure the system is working as intended and preventing potential hazards.

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