food-safety | 9 mins read

5 Benefits of Implementing HACCP in Your Foodservice Business

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Debdutta Bhattacharjee

By Debdutta Bhattacharjee

What is the HACCP System?

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Are you sure the food you're enjoying is safe? Have you verified if the eatery you're dining at has followed all the necessary steps to ensure food safety? Do you know if its employees observe food hygiene? It's a matter of considerable concern that foodborne illness has been found to be a major component of overall disease in the U.S.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50 million cases of domestically-acquired foodborne illness are caused every year by a combination of 31 known pathogens (like viruses, bacteria, and parasites) and a host of unspecified agents. This translates to one in every six Americans falling prey to foodborne illnesses annually. These ailments have resulted in nearly 130,000 hospitalizations and over 3,000 deaths. In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, moreover, food safety has become all the more important.

Complete knowledge of and adherence to food handling and preparation guidelines, therefore, becomes imperative. And if a food business is HACCP-compliant, it ticks all the food safety boxes. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a risk management system that provides an additional layer of security to the food industry. HACCP principles are internationally recognized. They ensure food safety through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards, right from the stages of production, procurement, and handling of raw materials, to preparation, distribution, and consumption of the finished products. It goes without saying that all sections of the food industry ought to use HACCP in their operations.

Biological safety hazards would include bacteria, viruses, molds, yeast, and parasites. Chemical hazards, on the other hand, refer to cleaning agents, pesticides, insecticides, food additives, and so on. There could additionally be a plethora of physical hazards like glass, packaging material, pieces of jewelry, pest droppings, human hair, animal fur and feather, and dead insects that threaten food. Health hazards may also arise from the unintended presence of food allergens.

The HACCP system looks to pinpoint and control potential hazards at specific points during the food production process and the food handling process. HACCP implementation is taken up by every segment of the food industry to ensure that the food we eat is safe food.

The Codex Alimentarius General Principles of food Hygiene, promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, lays a firm foundation for food hygiene. This FAO document provides for hygiene controls at every stage of the food chain, from primary production, all the way through to final consumption. It recommends a HACCP based approach to guarantee that the food is fit for human consumption and trade.

What Are the HACCP Principles?

The HACCP system enshrines seven principles. They are-

1.Conduct hazard analysis- This is done to identify what the sources of food poisoning could be. It could, for instance, be the presence of Salmonella in a cooked chicken dish because of cross-contamination with raw meat, or the presence of detergent, human hair, or a dead fly in uncovered food.

2. Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs)- These are located at every step where hazards can be prevented, removed, or reduced. An example of CCP is cooking raw meat thoroughly to eliminate pathogens.

3.Establish critical limits- These are minimum/maximum values to which a biological, chemical or physical parameter must be controlled at a CCP so that the hazard is mitigated. For instance, according to the 2001 FDA Food Code, when cooking pork chops, the critical limit is set at 145-degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.

4. Establish monitoring procedures- This would involve measuring parameters like temperature and time. For instance, a proper monitoring process would ensure that food is refrigerated below 5-degrees Celsius.

5.Establish corrective actions- If, let's say, the temperature inside a refrigerator rises above or falls below normal due to a technical fault, the food needs to be discarded and the refrigerator repaired.

6. Establish verification procedures- If an oven has been replaced, for example, one must double-check that the time/temperature settings achieve the requisite safety standards.

7. Establish record keeping and documentation procedures- Appropriate documentation and record-keeping are necessary for the proper enforcement of HACCP standards.

Before these principles are applied, though, one needs to ensure that the management and employees are properly educated and trained about their role in preparing safe food. HACCP training includes outlining specific tasks for employees monitoring each CCP. Then comes the development of HACCP plans, which may be product- or process-specific, or use a unit operations approach.

However, before the HACCP principles are applied to particular products and processes the following steps must be followed-

  • Assemble the HACCP team
  • Describe the food, its ingredients, its processing and distribution methods
  • Describe the normal expected use of the food and its intended consumers
  • Develop a flow diagram describing the process
  • Verify the flow diagram. This involves the HACCP team conducting an on-site review of the operation.

  • According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.8 million domestically-acquired foodborne illnesses are caused annually in the US.
  • 20% or 9.4 million cases of illness are caused by 31 known pathogens
  • 80% or 38.4 million illnesses are a result of unspecified agents.

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Prerequisite Programs For Implementing the HACCP Food Safety System

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The HACCP system derives its strength from a solid bedrock of prerequisite programs. CurrentGood Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), in this regard, have traditionally been essential to formulating and implementing effective HACCP plans.

These prerequisite programs provide the basic environmental and operational conditions required for the production of safe and wholesome food. Food safety mechanisms based on HAACP have been put to use successfully in food processing plants, retail food stores, and food service operations. Common prerequisite programs cover the following-

Facilities- The establishment should be located, built, and maintained strictly according to sanitary design concepts. There should be linear product flow and traffic control so that cross-contamination from raw to cooked materials can be minimized.

Supplier control- Facilities must ensure that their suppliers have effective GMP and food safety systems in place. This may be part of supplier HACCP system verification.

Specifications- Specifications for all ingredients, products, and packaging materials should be in written form.

Production equipment- All equipment should be built and installed in keeping with sanitary design methods. Preventive maintenance and calibration schedules must be well documented. A particular aspect of the prerequisite program may be included in the HACCP plan. For example, routine maintenance and calibration of an oven may be included in the HACCP plan as part of the verification to-do list. It makes sure that the food is cooked to the proper internal temperature at all times.

Cleaning and sanitation- There should be clear, written instructions for the cleaning and sanitation of the facility and all equipment, and these should be diligently followed. A master sanitation schedule should also be put in place.

Personal hygiene- This is non-negotiable for all workers handling and preparing food and also those entering the production facility.

Training- Employees should be sensitized about personal hygiene, GMP, cleaning and sanitation procedures, personal safety, and their role in the HACCP program.

Chemical control- There should be documented procedures related to the segregation and use of non-food chemicals like cleaning chemicals, fumigants, pesticides, and baits in and around the plant.

Receiving, storage, and shipping- All products must be stored under proper sanitary and environmental conditions. For example, temperature and humidity must be optimal for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of food.

Traceability and recall- All products must be lot-coded and a sound recall system put in place so that product retrieval can be done smoothly.

Pest control- There should be effective pest control measures in place.

Miscellaneous- This includes among other things, quality management, procedures for receiving, storage and shipping, labeling, employee food, and ingredient handling practices, glass control, and so on.

Benefits of Implementing HACCP- 1 - Prevent Food Safety Hazards

A HACCP-compliant food business is able to assure its customers that its products are free from biological, chemical, and physical contaminants. It looks to stamp out cross-contamination and is also wary of allergens.

Personal hygiene, separation of raw and cooked food, sanitization of surfaces, and maintaining a safe minimum internal temperature are strictly enforced by HACCP management systems. Companies use a Temperature Chart. A company focused on HACCP is able to bolster its public image because it displays a commitment to public health.

2 - Ensure Food Laws are Followed

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Food Safety laws are pretty strict in the U.S., and a strong commitment to HACCP and other food safety management systems does not only safeguard the health of consumers but also ensures that a food service business does not fall foul of the law and end up paying large fines.

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3 - Control Food Safety Risks Across Supply Chain

The HACCP management system seeks to control Food Safety issues at all stages of the food chain, from raw material production, procurement, handling, to manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale, and consumption of finished food products.

4 - Standardize Food Production Process

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The HACCP system helps to identify critical control points at which interventions must be made so that the food prepared is safe. This gives rise to critical and measurable standards and consistency in the food production process. It also makes room for monitoring and corrective measures if the standards are not met. This is a standard process in maintaining the Best Inventory.

5 - Product Quality Management Saves Money in the Long Run

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Prerequisite programs and correct ways of handling food are continuously documented. This takes the guesswork out of the system.

A HACCP-compliant business will see its profitability increase over time as customers, won over by its commitment to Food Safety, will gravitate towards its products. Such a business will also be safe from litigation by consumers and penalties by the government. It's bound to save the business money in the long run.

Forecasting Inventory quality and proper product management would help a business in maintaining food safety standards.

HACCP Certification

Food businesses can obtain HACCP certification from external authorities. It is important for a business to identify a certification provider of repute that can conduct a rigorous audit. The size of the business and the nature of service provided would determine the cost and duration of the HACCP audit. Operators are looking for ways to complete this and not Skip Main concerns or shortcuts.

Zip HACCP- True Friend of the Food Industry

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The Zip HACCP food safety software available on the Hubworks app store makes monitoring of food safety a smooth and easy process. It lets the management of a foodservice company track critical food safety tasks in real-time and ensure that the staff does not deviate from standard operating procedures. This is a great practice in Inventory Optimization.

Updates sync across all devices and the restaurant owner or manager can make informed decisions and request corrective actions from anywhere in the world, based on the reports generated by the Zip HACCP mobile food safety app.

The Blu 2 Bluetooth food temperature monitor ensures that food is neither undercooked nor overcooked, and is free from illness-causing agents. Integrated temperature solutions, hazard control checklists, and mandatory corrective action checklists make sure every restaurant stays on the right side of food safety norms.

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See what our customers are saying about us.

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"Our customer's trust is what keeps us in business. They expect fresh tasting food with no threat of ill-born diseases. Zip HACCP keeps us compliant with HACCP and FDA regulations through its integrated temperature solutions, food safety assurance, and end-to-end task reporting. We also use Zip Inventory to save time on inventory counts and have much-needed predictability to our ordering process. The Hubworks business management apps are perfect for our restaurants."


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