HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. This is a system for ensuring the safety of food products delivered to consumers.
The first ideas about the development of a food safety system appeared in the United States in the early 60s of the last century. There was an important task of strategic importance for the country — to provide proper and safe food for NASA astronauts who went on space flights. Research and development were kept in the strictest secrecy. All the documents were classified. The Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) system was taken as the basis. This method made it possible for production to anticipate problems and malfunctions that may arise even at the stage of development and design of the enterprise and technological processes. The system worked like this:
- A list of potential defects and malfunctions was compiled;
- Then an analysis of the causes of the problems and a description of their consequences was carried out;
- Each hazard was evaluated by experts;
- Recommendations were developed to reduce the risk of problems.
In the future, this method was adopted by large corporations and holdings in order to reduce the risks of manufacturing low-quality products, which could bring a lot of losses.
The food safety management system, based on the principles of HACCP, is a systematic approach to identifying and controlling hazards, whether microbiological, chemical or physical, that may pose a threat to the production of safe food products. HACCP helps to determine what can go wrong and plans how to prevent it.
Is HACCP a legal requirement?
Yes, it is. This requirement is spelled out inStandard 3.2.1 of the Food Standards Code:
The Principles of HACCP:
- Risk analysis
Analysis and identification of what could go wrong (the hazards), assessment of their significance and ranking at all stages of production: from the receipt of raw materials to the release of the finished product.
- Critical Control Points (CCPs)
Identification of critical control points of the production process. The practice of determining the CCPs using a decision tree has become the most widespread. The decision tree is a sequence of questions, thanks to the answers to which the HACCP group decides on the approval of the CCPs.
- Critical limits for CCPs
Setting the maximum values for each CCP. Exceeding these values indicates an increase in the risks of producing unsafe products.
- Monitoring and control system
Development of a monitoring system for each CCP to ensure control at production.
- Corrective actions
Preparation of regulations for personnel, in case of exceeding the limit values for each CCP. Develop instructions and define corrective actions to restore the limits of critical control points.
- Verification (verification of the HACCP system)
Development of a system of verification measures to verify and control the correct functioning of the HACCP system at the production.
- HACCP documentation
Development of a complete set of documentation, including journals and instructions on HACCP. Everything that was listed above should be documented.
What is a HACCP plan?
The HACCP Plan is a document that describes the HACCP procedures and represents an analysis of hazards and the definition of critical control points for food industry enterprises.
The HACCP plan is a mandatory document for any food production.
The HACCP plan is made up of HACCP worksheets, which are drawn up in the form of a table containing the results of the analysis of CCPs. These sheets are compiled according to the principle: one table — one CCP. In general, these sheets describe the hazards, possible risks in the workplace, critical limits, as well as the developed measures for control and distribution of responsibility.
Before monitoring, it is necessary to note the limit values of the parameters that you will control and then specify in the HACCP worksheet. It should be noted that if, for example, 15 CCPs were collected as a result of monitoring, then there should be the same number of worksheets.
The HACCP plan contains:
- Identified critical control points;
- Dangerous factors affecting the product in these CCPs;
- Critical limits of indicators for these factors;
- Monitoring measures are described in four columns, and the following questions should be answered:
- “WHAT needs to be measured”;
- “HOW to measure it”;
- “WHEN (how often) it is necessary to measure it”;
- “WHO is responsible for the measurement”;
- Description of corrective actions that are applied in case of a discrepancy with critical indicators;
- The place where the record of inspections was made;
- Data on measures to check production for compliance with the HACCP plan.
Do I ever need to review my HACCP plan?
You will need to update it from time to time, especially when something in the work of your production changes. For example, you will need to update your plan if you decide to add hot snacks to the menu.
Before any product or prepared dish gets to the consumer, whether it’s bread, milk in the store, soup at home, salad, side dish in a restaurant, it goes through many stages. The product is grown, stored, produced, frozen, transported, subjected to heat treatment, slicing, packaging, storage after cooking, etc.And at each stage, the HACCP system helps manufacturers to maintain product quality at a high level, avoid fines and losses, as well as increase customer loyalty, which ultimately leads to an increase in profits.