Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a kind of preventative food safety system involving identifying physical, biological, and chemical hazards during each stage of food handling and preparation. The system is used internationally, however, in the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the entities that implement mandatory HACCP training programs for meat, seafood, and juice handling. Aside from this, online HACCP standards training is voluntary but may be required by certain employers due to the various benefits that come along with it.
As previously stated, requiring your employees to take a HACCP standards training course comes with an array of far-reaching benefits. The ability to stop issues before they occur is an asset that is priceless in every industry. The real threat of foodborne illnesses or injuries can happen more easily than one would imagine. Creating a set of guidelines for each team member to follow for addressing risks before, during, and after they occur is essential to a properly functioning business.
Education is one of the biggest factors in ensuring that your business is HACCP standards compliant. Understandably, most people are not well versed in these standards, even if they’ve previously worked in a restaurant or kitchen. An online HACCP standards course can bring employees up-to-speed in each of the seven principles of HAACP standards, which are further discussed below.
1. Critical Control Points - The phases of production and food-handling processes where control measures are applied so that risk is eliminated or adequately diminished, making food safe for consumption.
2. Hazard Analysis - Breaking down the production process and identifying each physical, chemical, and biological hazard present or potentially present.
3. Critical Limits - This is the maximum limit in which the hazard can safely be contained and managed.
4. Monitoring - The US Food Safety Inspection Service is the entity which enforces the inclusion of monitoring activities in your business’s HACCP plan.
5. Corrective Actions - These are the actions that are taken when a plan’s critical limits are deviated from. These procedures must be taken to bring the food product back to the safely-consumable range and makes sure no harm is posed to consumers due to said deviation.
6. Verification - These procedures go over the effectiveness of the plan in how well it controls present or potential hazards. This process can include questioning, quality checks, food samplings, and even microbial testing.
7. Record Keeping - Documentation is highly important in providing proof that the implemented system is working effectively. This can and should include everything from plan implementation alterations, monitoring and verification activities, critical control points, and limits set by your business.
Knowledge is most certainly power. Even if your employees have taken an online HACCP standards course with their previous employer, it’s important for every one of your team members to be on the same page. Consistency is vital in making sure your HACCP plan is always followed, and no deviations occur. Requiring each team member to follow the same HACCP standards ensures consistency and makes sure that everyone knows what is required of him or her. Utilizing software, like Zip HACCP, takes it one step further by not only breaking down the responsibilities of your HACCP plan and ensuring proper delegation of duties to your staff but also providing you the tools that you need to stay on top of consistency through tracking and reporting features.
Food industry and HACCP standards play an essential role in helping your business consistently produce safe food products that are compliant with the USDA and FDA. While standards are not exactly equal to the law, they do provide a kind of interpretation.
The success of a HACCP system greatly depends on educating and training management and employees in the importance of each of their roles in producing foods that are safe for consumption. This education should also include information on how to control foodborne risks and hazards at each stage of production and management. Employees must recognize and understand what the HACCP standards are, and the skills needed to properly implement them.
It is management’s responsibility to provide each team member with an adequate amount of time for proper education and HACCP standards training, as well as provide the materials and equipment necessary to perform the training tasks. The successful implementation of the HACCP plan is also greatly dependent on management. Education and training will not help much if the plan is not properly implemented and organized. Again, consistency plays a huge role here.
While a thorough HACCP plan is vital to the success of your business, there are many other factors to consider as well. Each aspect of your restaurant’s setup, organization and practices should be well thought out and planned. Below are some additional recommendations to consider.
1. Facilities - Your business’ location should be located according to sanitary design principles. It should allow for an adequate flow of traffic and product to minimize cross-contamination.
2. Specifications - Written specifications should exist for all ingredients, products, and packaging materials.
3. Production Equipment - All equipment should be installed according to sanitary design principles, and preventative maintenance schedules should be established.
4. Cleaning - All cleaning and sanitation procedures should be documented and enforced. A master sanitation schedule should also be written and enforced.
5. Personal Hygiene - All employees and team members who enter the kitchen should follow personal hygiene rules.
6. Training - All employees should receive documented (online) training of HACCP standards training, personal hygiene, personal safety, and cleaning and sanitation procedures.
7. Chemical Control - Documented procedures must be enforced to ensure the proper use of non-food chemicals, such as cleaning chemicals and pesticides.
While HACCP standards training may take time out of your team’s day, in the long run, it will save you time, money, and potentially your brand’s name. You can’t put a price on success, and if you want to ensure your business does not fall prey to failing HACCP plans, then proper training and enforcement are essential.
To learn more about why HACCP standards and compliance are crucial to your business’ success, check out our article, The Definitive Guide to HACCP and Food Safety | 7 HACCP Principles. Monitoring and managing HACCP compliance is easier with Zip HACCP and Hubworks!