The purpose of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan is to identify and control any hazards that may arise during the process of manufacturing, storing, distributing, and consuming food products.
Ensuring food safety is a critical component of the food industry. HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is the system used to monitor and manage the potential risks associated with food production. This article provides an overview of the seven principles that make up HACCP.
Conduct Hazard Analysis:
The first step in establishing a HACCP system is to conduct a hazard analysis. This involves taking the time to identify and evaluate potential biological, chemical, or physical food safety hazards that could cause harm to consumers. Then, you’ll need to determine which processes may be able to control these risks. Once the hazards have been identified and potential controls have been established, they must be documented accordingly.
Identify Critical Control Points (CCPs):
A critical control point is a step in the food-handling process at which controls must be imposed to prevent or reduce hazards associated with the food product. It’s important to understand that even if potential hazards are discovered earlier in the process, it may not always be necessary to establish CCPs for those stages. The establishment of CCPs should reflect your ability to control the identified process hazard effectively at those points.
Establish Critical Limits for Each CCP:
Critical limits are the parameters that must be adhered to for each CCP. These limits must be established by the HACCP team based on an understanding of how far a process can stray from its normal range before it creates an unacceptable level of risk to food safety. Once defined, these critical limits should be written in unambiguous language and documented in the HACCP plan.
Monitor the Critical Control Points (CCP):
Monitoring is the act of routinely collecting data to ensure that each CCP is under control by its specified critical limits. This includes physical, chemical, and microbial checks on food products and processes. Appropriate monitoring equipment and procedures should be used, and the results recorded regularly. This data can then be compared against the predetermined critical limits to determine if action needs to be taken. It’s important to note that when going through this step of verification, trends should also be identified within the records so that any deviations from normal don’t go unnoticed.
Establish Corrective Actions for CCPs Out of Compliance or Error Situations:
Corrective actions are steps taken to correct CCPs that have gone out of compliance, or when an error situation occurs. The level and scope of corrective action should be determined by the severity and the extent of the issue. For example, a simple adjustment in the procedure may be appropriate for minor deviations from critical limits, but more significant steps must be taken for deviations that could lead to food safety hazards. These may include halting production completely or contacting suppliers if any ingredients were recalled.
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