Because of the rapid scientific progress in the field of global food preservation and manufacturing technology, and the consequent development in food quality control and safety systems, theories of modern systems have emerged. These systems specialize in ensuring food safety through an integrated system from raw materials involved in manufacturing operations to the end product of the consumer. HACCP is one of those systems that include modern scientific methods to monitor food safety and quality, which is known as a system for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points HACCP. The food produced according to the HACCP system is safe and healthy as it is an integrated system that takes care of all microbiological, physical and chemical risks as well.
In this article, we shed light on the terminology, the principles, and some examples of this system.
It Stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. It is a written plan that identifies the procedures for maintaining control of potentially hazardous food at the critical control points of food preparation or processing. In other words, it is a plan stating how food should be handled so consumers do not get sick.
Any unacceptable source of contamination that might be biological such as microorganisms / or chemicals such as chemical compounds such as pesticide residues, fungi – fertilizers and organic fertilizers – heavy metals – cleaning and disinfection materials / or physical like insect parts, dust, etc. that affect food safety and consumer health and cause illness or injury if not controlled.
3. Corrective Action (control measures):
Any measures or activities that can be used when a critical limit is not met to prevent exposing food safety to contamination hazards or to eliminate these hazards or reduce them to safe levels.
4. HACCP Plan:
A document that is written and registered by the HACCP team. It relies on HACCP basics and principles and includes specific steps that must be taken to control the sources of hazards that threaten food safety during the food production process.
5. TCS Food:
Food that requires time and temperature control for safety
6. A critical control point (CCP):
A step in the food production process where preventative measures can be applied to prevent, reduce or eliminate a food safety hazard. It exists at every stage of the process, from purchasing ingredients to the moment the product is consumed.
7. Critical Limit:
A maximum and/or minimum value to which a biological, chemical or physical parameter must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of a food safety hazard.
To conduct 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.
Failure to meet a critical limit.
HACCP Plan Principles:
There are seven principles used to make up a HACCP plan explained as follows:
1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis:
The first step in developing a HACCP plan is to conduct a hazard analysis. This involves identifying the sources and severity of potential biological, chemical, or physical hazards that may arise during your food preparation process and determining preventive measures. It also involves identifying the food production steps that the food goes through from the beginning to the end.
The type and severity of the potential hazards are determined in accordance with epidemiological studies, clinical history, and the information obtained about the way food is handled and its nature.
Food, which is classified as a medium for transporting microbes, is a very dangerous item. Accordingly, the way this food is handled, prepared, stored and distributed should be subject to a thorough analysis. Moreover, the risk of hazard increases when these foods are exposed to previous incidents of food poisoning.
Food items to analyze during food preparation include:
- Food that is served without cooking such as salads, fruit, and cold cuts.
- Food that is cooked for immediate consumption, such as grilled meat.
- Food items that are prepped, cooked, held, cooled, reheated, and served, such as chilies, soups, and sauces.
- Foods that are simply prepped and stored, such as potato salad and coleslaw.
2. Determine Critical Control Points:
This principle is to establish critical limits as criteria for controlling critical control points. It requires identifying the food production steps at which the hazards identified in the first principle can be controlled by preventing them, eliminating them, or reducing them to safe levels. Critical control points are defined as a process, step, method, or topic that controls a number of factors that can, therefore, be controlled at this point by taking preventive measures and control. To facilitate this process, a diagram is made to track the steps that the food goes through during the stages of preparation and even consumption. The diagram also identifies the critical control points to facilitate follow-ups. For example, the process of cooking meat, chicken or fish is considered a critical point. These cooked meats may be served immediately or cold hold, which is another critical point affected by the efficiency of the cooking process control.
Examples of CCPs include:
- Receiving foods from supplier
- Storing the food before preparation
- Food Preparation/Food Handling
- Hot holding
- Cold holding
- Transporting prepared food to a different location
- Holding hot or cold food during service
3. Establish Critical Limits:
For each process identified as a CCP, you need to establish minimum or maximum limits that must be met to remove or reduce the hazard to a safe level. These limits can be taken from recommendations that usually follow the process of investigating a food poisoning incident, or from research. In addition, the identification of these standards needs to be accompanied by a monitoring system that ensures their application. For example, food must be refrigerated at a temperature not exceeding (4 ° C), and not left at a temperature of (5 – 60 ° C) for more than three hours.
Establishing critical limits at every CCP gives your staff strict, easy-to-follow guidelines to help them understand how to keep food safe.
4. Establish Monitoring Procedures:
Establish monitoring and measurement procedures to monitor critical control points and ensure compliance with standards. Monitoring procedures are determined by observation or documentation to ensure that the hazards are under control. After determining Critical Control Points and setting Critical Limits, these points must be tracked to ensure that they are under control and within safety limits.
Monitoring procedures enable staff to check that each limit has been met and identify where, when, and with whom something may have gone wrong.
By monitoring procedures, you can:
- Bring the process back into control if a deviation occurs
- Track the process to show any regular deviations
- Provide documentation for verification
5. Establish Corrective Actions:
Corrective measures aimed at immediate intervention to correct when standards are not applied as required. When a deviation occurs, there must be an immediate correction such as reheating, overcooling, or discarding food. This is done when one of the critical points is not met. This principle requires setting a prior plan to address the deviation of one of the critical production steps. This plan involves providing your staff with the tools and knowledge required to take corrective action and ensure the contaminated food never reaches the end consumer.
Corrective actions involve:
- Identifying the cause of the deviation
- Correcting the deviation (if possible)
- Documenting the deviation
6. Establish a Verification System:
Ensure that your HACCP plan is operating as planned. This principle aims to ensure the viability of the plan, to make the necessary development, and to make some improvements if necessary based on records, documentation, monitoring charts, and analyses. This requires periodic observation, calibration of equipment and measuring devices such as a thermocouple, pH scale, reviewing the records and decisions taken. This principle helps you determine whether your plan successfully prevents, reduces, or removes food safety hazards.
7. Establish a Documentation System:
Developing procedures for accurate record-keeping is the final stage of implementing a HACCP plan. After monitoring data and critical control points are collected, they should be arranged, formatted and recorded to stay more organized and effectively respond to food safety hazards. This principle also involves preparing periodic follow-up reports. The HACCP plan requires documentation in written form or in any other to refer, outlining who documents what and how long records are kept on file.
Types of documentation include:
- Temperature logs
- Data about when corrective action was made
- Notes about the maintenance and service performed on equipment
- Information about suppliers including shipping invoices and specification sheets
Types of HACCP Plans include:
- Flow Chart Method
- Menu Based
- Recipe Incorporation
- Process Approach, etc
Example of the HACCP Plan:
Facility: ABC Restaurant
Preparer: CDE Consultants
Food item: Beef Roast / Sliced Beef
Flow diagram or descriptive narrative of the food preparation steps for the food item:
Equipment Utilized at each Critical Control Point (include type and quantity of each unit):
CCP 1: Convection Oven (2)
CCP 2: Heat Lamps (4)
CCP 3: Walk-in Cooler (1)
CCP 4: Convection Oven (2)
Additional information on HACCP Plan: