HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.
It is an internationally recognised framework for mitigating the different risks in food safety.
A risk could include any biological, chemical or physical hazards. HACCP is relevant to any company that deals with food from farm to fork.
The 7 steps of HACCP include:
The first step is to identify the hazards and evaluate the degree of risk they pose.
A critical control point is any controls that can be applied to prevent or eliminate significant hazards identified in step one.
In this step, you should establish criteria for each critical control point.
These could be any processing characteristics, such as temperature, pH levels, salt level, as well as the legal obligations for each critical control point.
This is where you create ways to measure and monitor the critical control points. This will enable you to establish whether you are meeting your critical limits.
In this step, you can create corrective actions to implement if your monitoring procedures indicate that you are not meeting the critical limits.
It’s important to establish records to show that the critical limits have been met and the system is in control. Legal requirements and records from the development of the system and the operation of the system should be included in this.
The HACCP plan must be verified. It is important to have verification procedures to prove that this process is actually working for the company, that critical limits are being met and/or corrective actions are being implemented. This also creates an opportunity to evaluate the system and make improvements where necessary.
There are some critical control points which are universal and may apply to majority of companies who implement HACCP. This means they are very common and most companies will process them in similar ways.
Below I have outlined some of the most common critical control points:
It’s more about how you cook, rather than remembering to cook that raw chicken. For example, cooking chicken to the correct temperature for the right length of time will be a control point to record.
Food storage is very important. A lot of food items, once cooked must be stored in either a dry space, out of sunlight, or in a fridge with specific temperature requirements. When storing these items in their correct environments, it’s also important to note how long we can store and eat these items until they are no longer safe to eat.
There are four different types of food contamination;
It’s important to understand the seriousness of all types of contamination and implement HACCP to avoid these.
A major way to avoid contamination – one of the greatest risks with cooking and preparing food, is food separation. This could involve keeping raw meat in leak proof packaging, ensuring the juices don’t spread to other food items.