7 Ways to Achieve HACCP Food Safety Compliance in a Your Restaurant
What is Food Safety Management?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 48 million people get sick due to foodborne illnesses every year in the United States. About 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 people die from these diseases annually. This is why establishing a food safety plan is of prime importance for any foodservice business dealing with a large number of consumers.
Food safety management is a systematic approach to ensuring that food companies, restaurants and other operators in the food industry, follow a standard food safety plan to identify and eliminate food safety hazards. This can be done by implementing a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan that takes care of all the necessary monitoring procedures to ensure you serve safe food to your customers at all times.
A HACCP plan includes identifying potential safety hazards, evaluating them, setting critical limits for each touchpoint and monitoring the food production process at each step to ensure utmost food safety. The HACCP system also provides for corrective actions, preventions and verification procedures to keep your business from repeating mistakes.
Why is a Food Safety Plan Important?
As a restaurant, you deal with hundreds of customers every day and thrive on the good word they spread about you. You wouldn't want to risk your patrons' health and earn a bad reputation with an ill-managed food safety plan. In order to make sure your food production practices do not risk Public Health and your business, you need an effective food safety plan.
- An efficient HACCP plan that takes care of the food safety needs of your business builds trust among your customers. This will help you grow in your industry and earn a good name.
- Earning a bad reputation can do great damage to an establishment that grows with every good review.
- No restaurant business wants to be at the center of a public health crisis. Inadequate food safety parameters can lead to a bacteria or virus outbreak that may lead to a large number of people falling ill. A food safety plan will prevent this.
- A HACCP plan or food safety plan will also ensure that your business complies with local food safety regulations and is not caught on the wrong side of the law.
- A great food safety plan that ensures your food processing methods are in check and verification procedures are carried out perfectly, helps build your business and generate revenue.
Restaurants are always trying to stay ahead of the curve. The problem is, with so many regulations and standards to keep up with, it’s hard to know where to start.
This article outlines seven ways you can stay compliant and avoid fines and penalties by following a HACCP food safety plan.
7 Steps to HACCP Food Safety Compliance- Learn the Basics of HACCP
Seven haccp principles make up a robust food safety plan. These seven HACCP principles are-
- Hazard Analysis- The first step of a HACCP plan is to conduct a hazard analysis to identify potential risks. These can be of any kindbiological chemical or physical.
- Critical Control Points (CCP)- Next is to identify the Critical Control Points for your food processing system. Identifying these points will help you prevent or minimize a future food safety crisis.
- Critical Limits- Determine the critical limit for each control point, such as maximum and minimum temperature levels, pH levels, and so on.
- Monitoring Procedures- The Critical Control Points need to be monitored carefully and consistently. Set up a HACCP team at your restaurant to monitor the CCPs so that remedial action can be taken immediately should a problem arise.
- Corrective Actions- Once in a while, things may still go sideways and for that, you need to plan corrective actions for any given situation with the Critical Control Points or Control Limits. Make sure your HACCP team is fully equipped to implement these corrective measures.
- Record Keeping- This is where you keep a record of any incident faced during food processing, a list of the corrective measures taken and which CCPs gave you most trouble. These record keeping practices will help reduce the number of errors in the future and also help with compliance.
- Verification Procedures- Perform regular verification and safety checks and test the effectiveness of your HACCP plan.
Develop a Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment
Perform a detailed Hazard Analysis and risk assessment of your entire food processing system. Hazard analysis will involve identifying any biological chemical or physical hazards that may occur during the food production process.
Biological hazards- These include contamination from bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms from raw foods, such as meat, fish and poultry. Even vegetables and food products can cause biological hazards.
Chemical hazards- These include contamination from chemical products such as cleaning solutions, sanitizers and other non-food items.
Physical hazards- Metal contamination of any kind from the equipment and appliances that are used during the food-making process are included in this list.
Establish a System for Monitoring and Remediation
Each of the Critical Control Points that are identified in the HACCP plan must be monitored continuously. These observations and monitoring procedures are carried out by the HACCP team to make sure all the Critical Control Points are in check. Any deviation from the identified Critical Limits can risk food safety and the monitoring procedures ensure that there are none. Continuous checking prevent delays in implementing corrective actions, which are laid out in the HACCP principles.
Even with the most efficient HACCP plan, things may go awry and your food safety team must be prepared with both, preventive controls as well as remedial actions. Moreover, all procedures need to be documented as part of the record keeping process in order to help your team guard against future incidents. These records and verification activities will additionally be proof of compliance should food safety inspectors demand it.
You want to make sure your food is safe, but how do you know what the right practices are? You don’t have time to learn all the rules, regulations and guidelines for food safety.
This article will show you how to achieve HACCP compliance in your restaurant with a HACCP food safety plan.
Train Your Employees on Food Safety
The staff must be trained to make food safety their utmost priority so that neither public health, nor your business's health is at risk. This can be achieved by depicting the HACCP plan as a flow diagram that is both easy to understand and remember. Train your employees to memorize the entire HACCP plan, the control points and critical limits and the corrective actions that should be taken in case of a problem. They should then undergo rigorous training on all food safety practices.
Don't Skimp on Sanitation
Sanitation plays an important part in how safe your food processing system is. While you may be in control of your HACCP plan and the critical points, sanitation will still have to be given special attention as this includes a number of other elements apart from the food.
From the uniforms of your restaurant staff, to the kitchen appliances, curtains and door handles, sanitation must cover every touchpoint and all items that are used to run a restaurant or food industry establishment. Do not take this lightly, particularly in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bacteria and viruses are not restricted to just food products.
Install an Automated Food Safety System
If the above food safety management guidelines look like a lot to handle, trust a bit of technology to help you get through it all. Automated food safety software systems such as Zip HACCP, Effivity, and HACCP Now will make sure your restaurant is HACCP compliant and ensure that you are alerted in real time when the system is breached.
From following up on critical tasks, such as monitoring cooking temperatures with wireless food thermometers, to creating safety audit checklists, ZipHACCP offers a range of food safety tools. With these tools, you can make sure your brand reputation is in safe hands, while also maintaining the highest standards of food safety.
The restaurant industry is ever-changing and evolving, but the level of scrutiny from regulators is always there.
Whether you are a small, medium or large restaurant, there are ways to meet HACCP food safety standards. This article will show you how.