If you are new to owning and operating your restaurant, then the term “HACCP” and the concept of a HACCP plan is probably also new to you. HACCP, or “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point” is a system, which is enforced to minimize and manage risks not only for your consumers but also for the people within your business.
As with any business operation, it’s more effective to be proactive rather than deal with the negative consequences later. The HACCP plan has put measures in place in a proactive effort to reduce risks by detailing methods to ensure your restaurant exhibits maximum food safety. So, how do you create your own HACCP plan to make sure you’re compliant with the FDA and USDA? Follow the seven principles below, and you’ll be well on your way to HACCP compliance.
The seven steps to HACCP plan creation are as follows-
1. Hazard Analysis
2. Critical Control Points
3. Established Limits
4. Critical Control Point Management
5. Corrective Measures
6. Verification Procedures
7. Record Keeping
Before getting started with creating any HACCP plan, it would be wise to get together with the rest of your team and effectively identify any potential or real hazards that could be associated with preparation methods and ingredients.
Food safety hazards have been classified into three different types-
1. Biological - Bacterial pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. Coli, but can also include viruses, parasites, fungi, and algae.
2. Chemical - These cover naturally-occurring chemicals, toxins created by microorganisms, and chemicals added manually to control a problem, such as insecticides.
3. Physical - Contaminants such as broken glass, pieces of latex gloves, or insects.
The probability that a hazard will occur is called a “risk.” The risk is scored from zero to one, depending on how high the degree of certainty is that the hazard will occur or not occur. Once the hazard is identified, a hazard analysis must be performed to gain a complete understanding of the relative health risk it possesses.
Next, as a team, you should brainstorm the points during the preparation and packing processes (anywhere from its raw state through processing) where the food items are most susceptible to contamination. You must determine whether a hazard could occur at each step, and, if so, whether there are possible control measures. If the hazard can be properly controlled best at this step rather than at a later step, then this is considered a CCP for the particular hazard.
By utilizing HACCP planning software, you can greatly simplify the long food safety process. For example, if you’re worried about the temperature of a certain ingredient rising too high, then you can implement automated temperature solutions to ensure that temperatures are always properly checked and the food is safe for consumption. Zip HACCP, by Hubworks, features integrated temperature solutions using Bluetooth technology to sync all temperature readouts onto the application and display information in real-time. You can say “goodbye” to the messy paperwork and never need to worry about keeping files in order.
A critical limit is the maximum or minimum value to which a physical, biological, or chemical hazard must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate, or effectively reduce it to an acceptable level. The criteria often used includes temperature measurements, time, moisture level, pH, water activity, and sensory cues such as visual appearance.
Each critical limit must be documented and included in operating procedures and instructions for employees. With a digital logbook, you can easily create checklists and see real-time insights on how they are being completed.
Monitoring is the method by which you will confirm that critical limits at each CCP are being met. The selected monitoring method should be sensitive and made so that the corrective action can be taken quickly. By utilizing Zip HACCP for your HACCP plan, you can schedule tasks at specified times, keep track of how the tasks are being completed, and by which employees. Each member of your team can contribute through the app on their mobile device, and you can monitor all the progress in real-time from your mobile device or computer.
If monitoring shows that the critical limits are not being met, then corrective action should be taken immediately to ensure no one is at risk of harm. The corrective action should take into consideration the worst-case scenario, yet also be based on an accurate risk assessment. Make sure that those responsible for CCP monitoring are adequately trained in how to properly perform a corrective action. Corrective actions must ensure that the CCP is no longer deviating from the standard and is under control. Ideally, there should be a type of alert in place that activates when a critical limit is close. With Bluetooth technology and real-time updates, these alarms are much more effective, and critical limits can be more easily avoided.
Just like with any other scientific process, the verification of a HACCP plan is essential. Once the plan is in regular operation, it must be verified and reviewed at consistent intervals. These procedures can include reviews of plans, CCP records, critical limits, and microbial sampling and analysis. Also, asking questions of staff (particularly CCP monitors), observing operations at CCPs, and a formal audit by an independent contractor are all crucial methods in which the system can be verified.
The last step to creating a successful HACCP plan is record keeping. This step is crucial and demonstrates that the proper procedures have been followed through each step. This may include time and temperature logs, flowcharts, and Bluetooth technology linked to equipment from throughout the kitchen. It provides a record of compliance with the critical limits and is effective in identifying any possible trouble areas. Rather than tracking down paperwork and worrying about employees properly recording in the logs, you can easily update and access records in an instant through your app or computer.
There is quite a bit of planning and tracking involved in opening and operating your own restaurant. However, creating your HACCP plan should be a breeze rather than a source of stress. By following our guide and using the Zip HACCP software to it’s fullest capabilities, you can seamlessly create and enforce your plan, leaving you time to focus on the fun stuff.
If you want more tips on how to successfully and effortlessly manage your food safety procedures, check out The Definitive Guide to HACCP and Food Safety | 7 HACCP Principles on the Hubworks Blog!