HACCP Training Service
HACCP is a food safety management tool that focuses on preventing hazards that could cause food-borne illnesses, by applying science-based controls, from raw material to finished products. It is an internationally recognized method of identifying and managing food safety-related risks through two components;
- Analysis of physical, chemical, and biological hazards that may occur during raw material procurement, manufacturing, storing, distribution, and consumption of the finished product.
- Identifying Critical Control Points, referring to those key points in a process at which control is of utmost crucial to prevent or eliminate food safety hazards, or to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.
HACCP is a safety-driven concept that allows an industry to take on a proactive role in assuring that the procedures followed during food processing will lead to a safe product. Implementing a HACCP plan is a team approach, one that requires full commitment and dedication, and works on the PDCA (PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT) cycle. A step-by-step guide is in order to obtain a comprehensive framework of risks, roles, and responsibilities involved in a process;
- Assemble a dedicated HACCP Team
- Describe the products and processes
- Identify the intended use of the product
- Construct a flow diagram
- Ensure compliance with the flow diagram
The formulated team must work in co-ordination and fulfill seven principles that serve as the foundation of a HACCP system;
- Conduct a Hazard Analysis
- Identify the Critical Control Points (CCPs)
- Establish critical limits
- Establish CCP monitoring requirements
- Establish corrective actions
- Establish verification procedures
- Establish effective record-keeping procedures
The program must be strict in its message so that there is no compromise between personnel in relation to safety and quality. Hazard Analysis includes the identification of risks involved in food processing and handling procedure, whether due to human, mechanical or environmental errors. These hazards are then analyzed in relation to their degree of severity, risk factor, and chances of occurrence. Identifying the CCPs based on hazard analysis is the most crucial aspect of any HACCP plan. While the criteria for selecting a CCP may differ based on product and process, it is necessary to discriminate between significant risks, ones that present absolute threat to the safety and compliance of product that cannot be eliminated further down the processing line, and insignificant risks where the loss of control does not automate a hazard.
A critical limit is the maximum acceptable level of a particular food safety parameter which indicates an unacceptably high risk to food safety if surpassed. Critical limits are typically expressed as values like time, temperature, pH, pesticide residue, water activity, bacterial count, etc. which can be derived from national or international regulatory standards.
Further, a planned sequence of observations is required for constant monitoring of the critical limits at every CCP. It must be effective in determining the monitoring method, frequency of monitoring, the responsibility of the monitor, and adequacy of monitoring. A HACCP plan must also specify immediate actions that are to be taken in case of deviation. Such corrective action must prevent potential hazards from integrating into the chain, eliminate the cause of hazard and prevent future occurrence.
Regular calibration of monitoring equipments and procedure is necessary for the verification of the plan, to ensure that the CCPs are in control and the process is hazard-free. Verification mandates that the necessary changes have been made and corrective actions are efficient.
Record-keeping is a fundamental part of any HACCP plan where every step is documented in detail, from the formulation of the team to the re-evaluation of the plan. Each CCP should be documented along with ts identification, its limits, frequency of monitoring, the person accountable for monitoring, and a shift check-off sheet signed or initialed by the accountable party denoting each time the CCP monitoring procedure was checked. An appropriate verification program should also be in place to audit these sheets, which may serve as a compliance record or a future reference.
An effective and strict HACCP plan can:
- Provide quality assurance of product and process
- Assert legal and statutory compliance
- Reduce or eliminate risks of hazard
- Provide a guide to act quickly and effectively in cases of food safety emergency
- Build customer trust and improve business relations
- Reduce costs on recalls and non-conformance
- Help receive Food Safety certifications
- Reduce barriers to international trade
- Help the company compete in the global market