A number of people have asked us the question: “What Is HACCP?” Here’s a quick outline. If you need to learn more please try this course.
The HACCP process adopts a systematic approach to food safety. Potential food safety hazards are identified by the operator so that they can be controlled at critical points during the life of the food. Once control measures are in place operators monitor controls to show that they are effective.
The term ‘HACCP’ stands for “Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points”. The general HACCP principles are outlined in international standards as well as the European legislation. They consist of the following seven stages:
- Identifying any hazards which must be prevented, eliminated or reduced;
- Identifying which controls are critical to ensuring hazards are prevented;
- Establishing critical limits (or the acceptable parameters) needed at critical control points;
- Establishing and implementing monitoring procedures at critical control points;
- Establishing corrective actions when monitoring shows that critical controls have failed;
- Establishing procedures to verify that measures outlined above are working; and
- Establishing documents and records to demonstrate that the above steps are effective.
HACCP is concerned with the routine food safety practices being adopted at the premises and what steps are “critical” in keeping food safe.
For the person in control of reviewing your food safety management procedures (usually the food business operator) it is recommended that a good understanding of food safety hazards and their corresponding controls is held (HERE IS AN EASY WAY TO DO THIS). In order to implement any food safety management system successfully you must also ensure that staff are appropriately instructed and trained in the elements of the procedures that they are expected to carry out. More information is provided in the ‘training’ section.
The procedures will also require your HACCP to be reviewed in certain circumstances. A review of the HACCP system is required where there is a change or modification to the business, including, for example, where new menu items, equipment, processes or stages to the operation are introduced. Where a review is necessary the 7 HACCP steps should be used as the basis of the review process. However, it is good practice to carry out this review periodically.
We have more information on food safety management here.