haccp system | 7 mins read

How to Make Sure the HACCP System You Set up Stays Strong

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Sanchari Chatterjee

By Sanchari Chatterjee

What is the HACCP System?

Food safety is of prime importance to everyone who has a stake in public healthright from consumers, to restaurant operators and staff, and health authorities. Responsible businesses establish food safety programs to make sure their staff follows the rules and protocols of food preparation and serving. One such food safety program is HACCP. But setting up a program isn't enough; operators must ensure that they are meticulously and methodically followed. Yet, although food safety systems may seem hard to monitor at a restaurant, given its busy schedule, if done systematically, it doesn't take much time nor effort and can makefood safetymanagement a breeze. This is what is done by an automated HACCP system.

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Pointsa set of checks and measures that ensure food safety by analyzing and controlling the potential hazards at a food service establishment. An automated HACCP system is food safety compliance software that makes sure HACCP steps are followed. It issues alerts when they are not, and recommends corrective actions that help the restaurant comply with food safety norms. The HACCP system is a systematic approach toward setting up a controlled environment that ensures the highest levels of food safety for your staff and customers, alike.

Why Does a Food Service Business Need a HACCP System?

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By making sure that all food safety compliance norms at a restaurant are diligently followed, an automated HACCP system protects a business from the negative effects of negligence and oversight.

It makes sure that the standard operating procedures critical for the growth and success of a business are practiced by all staff members and food safety norms are observed. HACCP software allows operators and managers to track the restaurant's critical control points and food safety measures from any location in real time, enabling them to be constantly aware of whether rules are being followed or not.

Manager can review task checklists and request corrective action if needed, making sure neither the staff's health nor the health of customers is compromised at any point of food processing or serving. With a HACCP system, they can stay on top of their game and make sure that the restaurant delivers on quality and food safety.

They can remotely monitor the temperature of food cooking in the kitchen, ensuring that all foods, particularly meat and poultry, are safe from the temperature danger zone. With automated temperature readings, the staff doesn't have to constantly stand vigil at the oven or grill to monitor food temperatures.

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What are the 7 HACCP Principles?

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The HACCP System enshrines seven important principles. These are-
1. Conduct Hazard Analysis-
This is the first step in the haccp process, where an establishment is required to perform a hazard analysis to identify potential risks that may occur during any stage of the operation. Hazards are of three kinds-

  1. Biological hazards such as bacteria or viruses could cause contamination at any of the food processing stages.
  2. Chemical hazards include contamination from chemical products like cleaning agents or from harmful toxins.
  3. Physical hazards count plastics, metals, rubber, or any other physical contaminant that enters the food processing stage.

After identifying potential hazards, a restaurant needs to evaluate them in order to determine the risk level they pose to customers.

2. Identify Critical Control Points (CCPs)-
The next stage in the HACCP plan is to identify critical control points. These are stages where your HACCP team can prevent or eliminate a hazard and make sure food does not reach a potentially dangerous point. For example, staff members can make sure food is cooked and stored at the appropriate temperature, and that the right amount of time is dedicated to cooking each dish, such that its pH levels are maintained.

3. Establish Critical Limits for CCPs-
After identifying the control points, the next logical HACCP step is to establish the critical limits for each of them, like the maximum and minimum temperatures for each dish during the cooking stages; maximum and minimum pH levels; salt and chlorine levels; etc. If these limits are exceeded, food safety will be at risk.

4. Establish Monitoring Procedures-
This step entails setting up monitoring and record keeping systems for food processing. The critical control points need to be monitored at all times so that food hazards can be avoided, and in case of an anomaly, they can be controlled immediately.

5. Establish Corrective Actions-
Even though a restaurant prepares a robust HACCP plan to make sure there are no gaps in its food processing system, it will still need to establish corrective actions should mistakes occur. These are corrective measures staff can take in case of a deviation from the critical limits established earlier.

6. Record Keeping-
Record keeping can help staff go back to review past hazards and learn from them. Records will also help you deal with food safety concerns raised by health authorities at any point.

7. Verification Procedures-
After a detailed HACCP plan has been established, it's important to make sure the plan is functional and effective. The restaurant's HACCP team or staff dedicated to maintaining the HACCP system should test the control points, limits and monitoring procedures to make sure the HACCP plan is efficient and working well.

How Can a Restaurant Keep Tabs of Food Safety

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Monitoring procedures, verification procedures and record keeping are some of the HACCP processes that help a restaurant stay on top of food safety. The restaurant can designate different monitoring jobs to different staff members, who will thereafter be accountable for those aspects of Food Safety. Usually, these jobs are executed by a dedicated HACCP team comprised of external food safety experts, or staff from within the restaurant itself.

How to Set up a HACCP Plan?

  • The first step to setting up a HACCP plan is to gather a dedicated HACCP team that will be responsible for its implementation. This team will have a leader who will oversee the work of all team members. The HACCP team also needs an expert who is familiar with the HACCP principles.
  • Prepare a flow diagram of your establishment, and the processes it follows on any given day. The flow diagram should be simple enough for every HACCP team member to understand.
  • Prepare the HACCP plan by following each of the steps mentioned above. These include conducting a hazard analysis, identifying the Critical Control points, establishing the critical limits, instituting monitoring procedures, establishing corrective actions, record keeping and verification procedures.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

How to Monitor Your HACCP System?

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HACCP systems, such as Zip HACCP, are easy-to-use task management software solutions that makes HACCP compliance a simple job for restaurants and other food service establishments. Operators and managers are sent real time notifications about their restaurant's HACCP status, and alerts in case of deviation from pre-determined critical limits. They also receive valuable insights about their food safety preparedness.

An HACCP system will constantly monitor the stages of food processing without the operator or manager having to oversee each step manually. For example, the wireless food thermometers that come with the HACCP setup will monitor food temperatures automatically and send the temperature readings to the HACCP app. When temperature exceeds the recommended limits, real time alerts are immediately sent out.

Food Safety FAQs

Q- Can food safety affect profits?
A- Food safety norms, if not followed diligently, can come back to haunt you and your business. From trouble with health authorities, to losing your licensethe problems can be immense. You may have to pay hefty penalties if the authorities find fault with your food service. At the other extreme, your reputation could take a hit and you may end up losing your business altogether.

Q- Can HACCP systems ensure food safety at small restaurants?
A- All kinds of restaurants, irrespective of their size and type, need food safety compliance. And HACCP systems can be used by any establishment to meet their food safety requirements.

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