Whether manufacturing food products, handling them or moving food items from one place to another—following a safe and controlled procedure is critical. However, that is easier said than done; creating a comprehensive safety system can be pretty difficult.
This is why many factories, companies, farms, etc., incorporate HACCP systems and plans designed to improve food handling safety. These systems use hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) to ensure the best approach when handling sensitive stuff like food.
This article is a definitive guide to building your HACCP system. But, first, let’s understand what exactly a HACCP system is.
What is a HACCP System Plan?
The term HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and is one of the world’s premier systems for controlling safety hazards and risks in food and related processes. The FDA defines HACCP as:
“A management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement, and handling, to manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of the finished product.”
HACCP systems are applied globally in many food-related processes and firms. The flexibility allows the HACCP systems to accommodate specific factors involved in a diversity of food production or process to ensure maximum safety.
That being said, orgs follow some defined steps and principles to create the most effective HACCP system plans. Let’s go over the seven primary principles that you can follow to build a HACCP system.
7 Steps/Principles To Develop a Comprehensive HACCP System
Consider these seven principles to develop your HACCP plans:
1. Perform hazard analysis and list all potential hazards
As with most inspection plans and systems, the first step to developing a robust HACCP is identifying the specific goal. This case lists all the potential dangers that could lead to injury or sickness upon ingestion or any other mishaps while working with the food.
The best way to go about this step is to perform a complete hazard analysis of the process. Some of the primary factors you can consider for a hazard analysis are:
- Storage process of the food.
- Temperature and substances coming in contact.
- The time between steps.
- Thawing/freezing of frozen food.
- Employee hygiene and expertise.
These parameters and other niche-specific factors will help develop a comprehensive list of hazards needed to move forward with a robust HACCP plan.
Moreover, you can also determine how significant and dangerous each identified hazard is by making the HACCP system more accurate when implemented.
2. Determine Critical Control Points (CCP’s)
A critical control point (CCP) is a stage in a procedure when orgs can overturn, terminate, or control the hazards. Defining these CCPs is necessary to ascertain what steps need to be given extra attention and ensure safety throughout the food process.
One of the most common hazard analysis critical control points is cooking because there could be a defined set of essential limits in terms of cooking temperatures—like cooking some meats beyond a specific temperature for adequate consumption safety. Therefore, the CCP maintains the set temperature range to ensure that the food is well-cooked and safe for ingestion.
3. Define Critical Limits for all CCP’s
Once the hazard analysis critical control points are identified, the following principle defines a maximum and minimum limit for each CCP. This ensures that systems can acknowledge normal fluctuations while only working to prevent critical levels that can lead to physical, chemical, or biological hazards.
Some prime examples of critical limits that are set in HACCP systems are:
- pH level
- Substance levels
4. Establish CCP monitoring procedures
Monitoring hazard analysis critical control points refer to how the CCP is measured and observed—this requires covering various questions such as the unit of measurement, the time of measurement, how often to monitor CCP’s, and many more.
Answering these questions efficiently will allow proper monitoring of CCP’s, which will help improve the effectiveness of a HACCP system and the overall safety of food.
5. Establish corrective measures
In case the critical limits of a CCP are being exceeded, it is essential to have clear corrective measures in place to reduce the risk and severity of any possible hazards.
These disciplinary actions must be pre-defined based on the specific CCP and related factors. For example, if a frozen item has been kept in the open for too long, the corrective measure may require throwing it out.
6. Establish verification procedures
Verification procedures are necessary to ensure that a HACCP system is working as intended. These verifications can consist of auditing or even random sampling and tests that will confirm the effectiveness and efficiency of the preventive measures in a HACCP system.
7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures
Even after the system works flawlessly, orgs must maintain proper records and documentation. This record-keeping could be tabbing cooking time, temperatures used, employee training, etc. All the factors that can affect the identified hazards and related CCP’s need to be recorded and observed to ensure that standards are met.
While these seven principles are pretty complex, following them will help you build an effective HACCP system plan to reduce the chances of physical, biological, and chemical hazards. Moreover, such systems can help improve the overall efficiency of food processes as there is minimal wastage and mistakes.
That being said, if you need help in building a HACCP system for your requirements, we at Pulse can help you out! With Pulse, you can utilize a state-of-art, 360-degree audit and inspection tool to create, analyze, and audit your guidelines and ensure they are followed. Click here to book a demo or contact us via email; we can help you find the right hazard analysis critical control points for your HACCP system in no time!