HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is an internationally recognised management system which utilises a preventive approach to dealing food safety in restaurants, bars and other spaces. This means its main goal is to avoid situations that may compromise the safety of food before products are made available to consumers rather than trying to inspect the finished products.
HACCP is applied to all stages of food production, processing and distribution and is based on 7 principles which must be considered in the implementation of a HACCP system:
1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis (HA)
For this first step, you, or ideally a trained expert if he/she is available, should identify and evaluate any hazards that may be present at every stage of the production process.
Hazards can be biological (viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.), chemical (such as pesticides and toxins) or physical (like plastic, glass or other unwanted materials that could harm consumers).
2. Identify the Critical Control Points (CCP)
The second step is to identify the CCPs. These are the points in the process where you have scope to apply controls in the process that will allow you to avoid, reduce or eliminate the hazards. You will also need to identify the appropriate preventive measures that should be taken for each of your CCPs, such as the creation and maintenance of a specific environmental condition.
3. Establish critical limits
For each measure linked to the established CCPs, it is important to define the critical limits for each one. These are the criteria that must be observed and implemented to appropriately discern what is and what is not acceptable when dealing with the identified hazards.
4. Monitor every CCP
For every CCP that has been defined, it is necessary to have a constant monitoring of the process to ensure that the critical limits are being followed properly. You must therefore also define and apply effective monitoring procedures for the measurements at every CCP which should specify the conditions under which these measurements are to be made.
5. Establish corrective measures
It is possible that throughout the process, certain CCP’s will not progress smoothly in accordance to the critical limits you established. When this occurs, it is necessary to know what actions could be taken to avoid unsafe food products from reaching consumers and to identify the reasons for the critical limits not being met.
6. Establish verification procedures
You will need to verify that your HACCP plan is valid and working as intended. This verification should be done regularly and include reviews of the plans and CCP records, calibration of instruments, biological sampling, product testing and more.
7. Create a record keeping system
Finally, it is important to keep records and documents with the purpose of demonstrating the effectiveness of the measures involved in the previous steps. These records should document the monitoring of CCPs, critical limits, corrective measures and verifications as well as information about the hazard analysis and the team involved in the HACCP.
The management of all of these processes can be centralised and simplified using an intuitive tool like Infraspeak, which will also allow you to compare performances and to simplify compliance with the legal regulations.