HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. HACCP is a set of standards that the FDA created to enable better food safety for the consumer from harvest to consumption. Using seven principles, the goal of HACCP is to prevent any food safety problems from occurring. Most local health agencies have adopted HACCP and the underlying principles are:
- Hazard Analysis – This is the process of collecting and evaluating information on hazards and dangers associated with food. A decision must be made on which challenges are significant and those hazards are to be put into the hazard plan.
- Determine the Critical Control Points – Find the step where control can be applied to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard you have identified. For example, refrigerating food to prevent microbiological pathogens from forming is a critical control point.
- Establish critical limits – Once you know our hazard and have defined its critical control points, now you quantify the critical limits. This is a maximum or minimum limit to which must act as a new parameter to eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of food safety hazard. For example, keeping all perishable food product at 35 degrees F is a critical limit.
- Establish Monitoring Procedures – If you know what your potential problems are and how to prevent them, then you must monitor daily these critical limits to see that you are food safe. Often times this involves temperature taking and also includes cleaning and upkeep.
- Establish Corrective Actions – As you monitor your critical limits, you may find that you have a finding outside the critical limits. For example, holding perishable product at 45 degrees F would be a red flag. You would have to correct the thermostat on your refrigerator, repair, etc.. This step requires that you both take corrective action and record it.(For audits later!)
- Carry Out Verification Procedures – The goal here is to validate your HACCP plan. You are to test food before it s served to see if it is safe, that is the acid test of verification. Verification is often carried out by unbiased third party evaluators to give the most objective result.
- Establish Record Keeping and Documentation Procedures – Summarize your hazards, create a flow chart with the critical control points and limits, name who is responsible for the monitoring, when there is a problem show the corrective action and keep records so you have a good audit trail!
You are ready to go with your HACCP plan. If you need help with implementing it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org