HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. This consists of a plan that keeps people safe from hazards found in foods from the beginning of its processing all the way to the end product. The HACCP management process specifically keeps track of the following:
- Raw material processing
- Procurement and handling
- Consumption of the product
Anywhere in this food creation process, the HACCP’s purpose is to monitor and analyze potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards. However, it doesn’t end there; to go with this management plan, there must also be some sort of pest control, recall traceability, and hygiene program implemented to create a system that has all the bases covered under its own basic principles.
7 Principles of HACCP
- Complete a hazard analysis: where are hazards likely to occur? How can they be eliminated, mitigated, or prevented? This process must be documented as well as justified if the hazard is excluded.
- Identify the critical control points: critical control points, or CCP, defined as a specific point in the procedure that can be controlled to prevent a potential hazard. It may involve more than one food safety hazard or need more than one CCP.
- Establish critical limits: this is abbreviated as CL and is defined as the min/max amount of chemical, physical, or biological substance that needs to happen at a CCP to prevent, reduce, or eliminate hazards. This may be measured in time, pH, weight, temperature, water activity, etc.
- Monitor the CCP: How often the CCP will be monitored, how it will be done, when it will be measured, and who will be in charge of completing this task is taken care of in this principle idea.
- Establish corrective action: This occurs when a hazard makes it past the critical control point and needs to be remedied before it goes out to be consumed. The HACCP team needs to identify what has gone wrong and remove the hazard to correct the process as well as make sure it will not happen again.
- Verification: verification happens through auditing the CCPs, reviewing records, shipping reviews, and testing of products as well as machinery.
- Recordkeeping: documentation is a must when concerning a successful HACCP program. This is used most often to prove that the production of the food has created something safe for consumption. It also includes information about the HACCP plan (the team, diagrams, product descriptions, and all seven of the HACCP principles).
The proper implementation of one of these HACCP programs reduces the number of hazards that come from raw materials, human error, and facility processes which in return reduces the amount of complaints from consumers and the potential for product recall. All of this is due to the fact that the HACCP process creates an environment where the employees are more aware of what their goals are in finished products as well as the way in which those products are created.