HACCP consultant vs digital solution (US)
When starting a food business, whether it is a cafe, restaurant, pub, canteen, bakery, or a shop, you realize how many ...
When starting a food business, whether it is a cafe, restaurant, pub, canteen, bakery, or a shop, you realize how many documents need to be done, including a HACCP plan. Let’s go through, what options do you have to get your compliance documents done and what is the easiest way.
HACCP is obligatory
For any food operator, according to US legislation, you must have a compliant HACCP plan. Why? Because it’s necessary to evaluate what are the food safety hazards and how to ensure that food is safe for the consumers on a daily basis. Following food safety standards give customers a sense of security, which is very important, especially during these times of crisis. Also, a HACCP plan is required by the USDA, before starting your business and reviewed periodically or if there are changes in the production.
How to get HACCP?
Usually, to get your HACCP plan done you need to hire a food safety consultant who provides you with all required documents and charges quite a considerable amount of money. There are many service providers in the market, like Techni-K, SGS, CaterSafe, FoodAlert, Surefoot Solutions, etc. Some companies also provide an electronic form of documents (word, excel, pdf), some of them not. New innovative food safety solutions help you to cut costs and save time, but also support you after all compliance documentation is completed. And FoodDocs is one of them! Let’s compare traditional paper-based and innovative digital HACCP plans.
Time: FoodDocs vs consultant: 1:0
Getting your HACCP from a food safety consultant takes approximately 3-4 weeks. It is a great amount of work to do - book a meeting, go to the site, make an interview with the client. Then, go through collected information and create risk assessments, make decision trees, produce a plan of premises, equipment, water, and sewerage, etc. All of these take time to listen, plan, and put it on paper.
With a digital system, you can create your HACCP plan within 1 hour, by yourself, at any time that suits you. How is it even possible? The digital system only needs the information about your profile to compose the final document. What kind of information? Like, what is your business type, what raw materials do you use, what kind of food do you sell, how big is the volume and what duties do you do in your business. FoodDocs’ software collects all information and automatically creates all obligatory documentation, even the most complicated ones, like flow diagrams, hazards assessment, monitoring sheets, etc. The platform has a built-in solution to create different plans - waste plan, premises plan, water & sewerage plans. All are easy to create with our built-in tool, just by dragging all needed points and arrows on the plan. This makes a digital program 500x faster than a traditional paper-based system.
Making changes to your plan: FoodDocs vs consultant: 2:0
The HACCP plan always needs to be done according to your company’s current status. It means, if you have any changes in your company - menu change, start food delivery or donation or add new high-risk raw materials, then you always need to change your HACCP plan accordingly.
If you use a paper-based system and you need to change your HACCP plan, then you must hire a food safety consultant who can apply changes, go through the risk assessment, and decide whether control points are critical or not. Obviously, it takes time and brings you additional costs.
In the digital HACCP system, you can make all changes by yourself, with two clicks and your system is up-to-date again. For example, if you want to start a food delivery, you log in to your account, add the “food delivery” process to your business profile and confirm amendments. The software will let you know if you have any new additional critical control points.
Another topic is monitoring sheets - tasks that need to be recorded every day. Depending on your business profile, you have to monitor and record different things. The most difficult part is that monitoring tasks are easy to forget, especially when you have many employees and a lot of work to do.
Furthermore, paper records take a lot of space to archive (yes, you need to store records for at least 2 years!), and it takes even longer to search for a particular document.
Cost of the service: FoodDocs vs consultant: 3:0
The paper-based HACCP plan with all required documentation costs approximately $1300-$2000. A food safety consultant is a high-skilled person and it takes a lot of time to create all obligatory documentation. Some consultants charge per hour if there is not a lot of work.
A digital HACCP plan with FoodDocs costs $180 monthly subscription, which includes also access to the dashboard, and digital monitoring.
Helping you to cope with the fast pace of change: FoodDocs vs consultant: 3:1
On another note, when new solutions seem too complicated, you don’t know where to start from. Many food safety consultants help food businesses to implement digital solutions. It’s great to see that the two worlds can help each other to achieve the same goal - to keep customers and food safe.