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What Is HACCP?

What is HACCP?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.

It is an internationally recognised framework for mitigating the different risks in food safety.

A risk could include any biological, chemical, or physical hazards. HACCP is relevant to any company that deals with food from farm to fork.

What are the 7 Steps of HACCP?

The 7 steps of HACCP include:

  1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis
    The first step is to identify the hazards and evaluate the degree of risk they pose.
  2. Identify the Critical Control Points
    A critical control point is any controls that can be applied to prevent or eliminate significant hazards identified in step one.
  3. Establish Critical Limits
    In this step, you should establish criteria for each critical control point. These could be any processing characteristics, such as temperature, pH levels, salt level, as well as the legal obligations for each critical control point.
  4. Establish Monitoring Procedures
    This is where you create ways to measure and monitor the critical control points. This will enable you to establish whether you are meeting your critical limits.
  5. Establish Corrective Actions
    In this step, you can create corrective actions to implement if your monitoring procedures indicate that you are not meeting the critical limits.
  6. Establish Record Keeping Procedures
    It’s important to establish records to show that the critical limits have been met and the system is in control. Legal requirements and records from the development of the system and the operation of the system should be included in this.
  7. Establish Verification Procedures
    The HACCP plan must be verified. It is important to have verification procedures to prove that this process is actually working for the company, that critical limits are being met and/or corrective actions are being implemented. This also creates an opportunity to evaluate the system and make improvements where necessary.

What are the Most Common Critical Control Points?

There are some critical control points that are universal and may apply to the majority of companies that implement HACCP. This means they are very common and most companies will process them in similar ways.

Below are some of the most common critical control points:

Cooking
It’s more about how you cook, rather than remembering to cook that raw chicken. For example, cooking chicken to the correct temperature for the right length of time will be a control point to the record.

Storage
Food storage is very important. A lot of food items, once cooked must be stored in either a dry space, out of sunlight, or in a fridge with specific temperature requirements. When storing these items in their correct environments, it’s also important to note how long we can store and eat these items until they are no longer safe to eat.

Contamination
There are four different types of food contamination;

  1. Cross contamination
  2. Biological contamination
  3. Physical contamination, and
  4. Chemical contamination.

It’s important to understand the seriousness of all types of contamination and implement HACCP to avoid these.

Separation
A major way to avoid contamination – one of the greatest risks with cooking and preparing food, is food separation. This could involve keeping raw meat in leak-proof packaging, ensuring the juices don’t spread to other food items.

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