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HACCP flow chart
A HACCP flow chart is a graphical representation of the entire manufacturing process of your food business.
A HACCP flow chart represents the flow of food materials in your food business starting from receiving any raw material to serving your finished products.
HACCP food safety system requires a detailed and comprehensive food flow chart to properly identify the associated hazards in your manufacturing process.
Every food business in the food chain has its own unique and complex food operations to come up with for its product. These operations describe the everyday activities of a business and are comprehensively analyzed in a HACCP plan. This step is done by building a HACCP flow chart or otherwise known as a HACCP flow diagram. This diagram is a graphical representation of all your processes and is usually considered a critical tool and the most difficult part of a HACCP plan. It will be used as a basis to map out the potential hazards in your operations to prevent any adverse health effects of foodborne diseases which may originate from your processes.
Making a flow chart of your operations may seem easy, but it has a lot of technicalities in itself and requires much attention and a firm commitment to preventing any food safety issue. A food restaurant owner may turn to food safety professionals or food safety chart software to create their flow charts. Once you do it yourselves, it just seems too complicated to create. After all, an actual flow diagram document is a great and solid foundation of a comprehensive HACCP plan. In this article, we briefly go through what a flow chart sample is and how to create it the quickest and easiest way. Also, feel free to use our HACCP flow chart template. Just replace the words on the form where applicable and download or print it out.
If you want to take the easiest way and let the software do the job for you, sign up for HACCP builder software and see how machine learning creates the flow chart sample automatically together with all other compliance documents.
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What is a food flow chart?
In the food industry, a HACCP flow chart represents the entire process categories that your raw material goes through during processing until the product is served to the customer. It is your business's design workflow and is a fundamental requirement of a HACCP plan. All steps in your production process must be well-emphasized in this simple outline so that the whole HACCP employee will be able to evaluate each step comprehensively to prevent loss of control and consistently produce a safe product. As such, staff from all concerned departments must participate in making it, including the assistant manager, the food safety specialist in the business, operations manager, head of kitchen staff, and food engineers. Any type of food business, including fast-food restaurants, retail food stores, and food courts, need to create a food flow chart.
A HACCP food flow chart or a commodity flow diagram is one of the preliminary steps in making a HACCP food safety management system. In a way, it is the workflow diagram or business process diagram of your food business. This document must represent your food processing operations well for all the food prep team members as well as for the food safety auditor during an evaluation. It serves as a basis for the next steps of the HACCP food safety management system making such as establishing critical limits, corrective actions, monitoring records, and preventive controls. Missing just one food operation in a HACCP flowchart diagram can increase the risk of food safety hazards in your food business and risks the successful implementation of your HACCP plan. This instance shows you the ability of flow charts to clearly display all the needed information for your business.
The list food service operations that must be included in the flow chart include:
- Incoming materials
- Inspection (for any type of food safety hazard)
- Batch weighing
- Processing (e.g. thermal processing, mechanical processing, and etc)
- Quality inspections
- Rework (where applicable)
- Waste flow
- End product
All food charts are almost different and have complex processes. They are uniquely based on your processing structure. Depending on the complexity of your whole processing steps, your food flow chart may become difficult to make. Complete flow diagrams are composed of flow chart symbols which are usually basic flowchart shapes. These symbols can include a rounded rectangle shape that contains the process, inward and outward arrows to suggest the flow of the process, diamonds for steps requiring decisions, and circles that indicate the starting and ending point. Other flow chart symbols may include curved lines, connector lines, and other basic shape objects such as rhomboid shapes to signify input materials. The whole flow chart design does not have to be as technical as an engineering drawing.
Why do we need to understand the flow of food definition?
The flow of food in a processing setup pertains to the path that the raw materials go through to become the finished product that is ready to be served. It is a descriptive document of your restaurant operations plan and product flow. Determining this whole process of product flow is an important job for the whole HACCP team to prevent loss of control of food safety and to make your food safer. Each step in your food manufacturing process has its functions. Whether may it be receiving raw materials, processing, packaging, or anything in between, all of these steps were included to perform certain tasks. Knowing the logical flow of foods through the assembly line manufacturing allows your HACCP team to see what food safety risks and potential hazards may have a high chance of occurring.
The flow of food normally starts from receiving the raw materials which then go straight to manufacturing or ingredient storage. Direct use of raw materials requires extensive inspection because the products will be immediately used for a food process operation. As an example, a physical hazard in raw material production is most likely to be detected such as insect parts, glass shards, or pieces of metal. Failure to detect these potential hazards at this point can cause other subsequent contaminations such as the growth of enteric pathogens and other biological hazards and create unsafe food for consumption that can put public health at risk.
Is a HACCP flow diagram mandatory for food businesses?
A HACCP process flow diagram is a handy tool and a prerequisite requirement for making an initial plan for HACCP as mandated by regulatory agencies and your government for establishments such as a food restaurant business. It is the last part of the preliminary steps before applying the HACCP principles such as hazard analysis. Your health hazard identification and hazard analysis stage will be based on this document. Depending on your country's legislation regarding the requirement of a HACCP food safety system, it may be required to have a restaurant operation flowchart as part of your HACCP plan. In case you need to be HACCP certified, you will definitely be required by law to have it.
A food flow chart is also useful even if not for HACCP food safety program purposes. Food processing plants and other establishments benefit from having an accurate record of your entire standard operation process which can help you easily identify at which point do errors usually occur.
What tool should I use to make a HACCP flow chart?
The traditional way of making a HACCP flow chart is manually mapping the whole process by hand and inputting it through applications such as MS Word and the like. To date, there are a lot of common tools and software that you can use to create a detailed flowchart design. Whatever format or tool you decide to use, make sure that it is flexible. Revisions and improvements are very common especially in the food business similar to what happened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Remember that flexibility is a criterion you must always consider.
Some examples to use when creating a HACCP flowchart for restaurants and other food businesses:
1. Pen & paper - Perhaps the most basic quality tool to make a HACCP food flow diagram. It is allowed to create your flow process chart on paper, even in the 21st century. It's not the most convenient way, but when you're not very technical, go the traditional way. This method is also a great way to make an initial draft. In terms of flexibility, this method is great. Although, a flow chart from scratch can be tedious and hard to make.
2. Microsoft Office solutions – Excel, Word, and Powerpoint are reasonably good for creating a commodity flow diagram. All the elements needed to make a food flow chart are in these applications. It just takes time and skill to find them and use them to make a flow diagram. Flexibility-wise, this is also a good choice. The downside to this is that you have to make everything from scratch. This means that all ideas must come from your restaurant employees.
3. Design tool - design tools such as Creately, Miro, Draw, etc. are widely available on the internet. This solution is an advanced way of making a food flow chart and can be customized in more ways than one. Despite this, the level of technicality far exceeds using Microsoft Office solutions.
4. Food safety software - Some HACCP software companies such as FoodDocs include an automatic HACCP plan builder that creates a flow process chart automatically and is customizable at any time using basic editing options. Using our software, you do not have to come up with all the ideas by yourself. Our expert-guided AI will help you build your detailed flow chart in minutes.
How to create a HACCP flow chart with 5 steps?
STEP 1. Define all processes in your company
As already described, you should document all HACCP process steps you have in your food business, nothing more or less. This flow chart step starts from receiving until the food is delivered to the end-users.
Examples of the flow of food in the food business:
Picking herbal products
Cleaning dirty vegetables
Preparing non-animal food [
Preparing animal food
Serving Food donation
Despite repeatedly mentioning that you need to indicate all processes involved, there is no need to point out non-processing steps. Steps like cleaning and sanitizing, inspection, audits, testing, etc. do not have to be added to the flow chart. Focus only on the steps that your raw materials go through before becoming a finished product in your menu.
Because a HACCP plan is process and process-specific, your food flow chart must be the same as well. You will be required to make separate flow charts for all your products if they undergo different processing methods. This makes it harder if you have a wide variety of products with different manufacturing processes.
STEP 2. List all HACCP process steps
After defining the previous steps, list all your processes according to your facility's real-life situation. It might seem that there is only one simple option, but usually, there are several ways that HACCP processes can change for the location. For example, after preparing the food, it can go directly to serving without being cooked. Make sure that all arrows are properly used and will not cause confusion. Before proceeding to the next chart step, verify your restaurant operations flowchart if all information is correct. Apply revisions where they are needed. Add or remove connector objects wherever you see fit.
See below how the flow process chart changes:
STEP 3. Define Control Points and Critical Control points.
Depending on the region, you sometimes need to validate and mark your HACCP flow chart, whether your process steps are Control Points (CP), or Critical Control Points (CCP). You may need to list each step of the HACCP process and note down all possible hazards for each step. Evaluate the possible hazards of each step separately based on their severity and likelihood of occurring. Some steps can have a single hazard, whereas others can have more than one. The customizable restaurant flowchart we will provide you is the essential foundation of your entire restaurant operation and can be edited to put your specific operations or any additional step. Defining CP and CCPs is an important job and a prerequisite to tasks such as establishing critical limits, corrective actions, and monitoring procedures further down your HACCP plan.
If this all sounds too complicated for you, we have put together a great article about the most common critical control points for food businesses. Feel free to read more about this topic to know which steps can be considered critical control points and how to use automation tools. When using FoodDocs HACCP builder software, the whole HACCP flow chart template will be created by the software. If you want to apply any revisions, you can easily edit all sections yourself according to how you want them to be.
STEP 4. Define control measures
The next flow chart step is to define and mark which control measure must be monitored, whether measuring the adequate time, internal temperature, moisture level, or quality. Because the flow chart we generate for you is based on general knowledge from established businesses with a solid foundation, there will be instances that you would have to specify which measures need to be controlled specifically. Do not worry because this is an easy task and will only take a few clicks to finish. The process will still be way faster than making a flow diagram on your own. Other specifications such as which process step is a critical control point or a control point may be specified on your end.
Step 5. Verify your HACCP flow chart
After completing your process flow diagram together with the whole HACCP plan comes the verification procedure. You need to verify if your HACCP plan is correct and fits your food manufacturing process perfectly. Conduct a meeting where your company food workers would get involved and check if additional steps need to be included.
One of the best things about using our process flow chart template, aside from automatically generating the actual chart for you, is that it is highly customizable and you can edit everything at any time. There will be situations when you will need to do so.
These key times when you need to revise your flow chart and merit a future verification step are:
1. At least once a year as an update or to apply revisions.
2. Whenever there has been a change to any of your HACCP processes, like installing new equipment or removing existing equipment from the process.
3. Whenever you start to use new food ingredients for new dishes in your food menus, that can have an important impact on the production process. For example, food components containing an allergen.
5. When you introduce new food operations in your restaurant business such as food delivery.
4. When revisions from an auditing firm require you to change your processes.
Things can be very variable especially in the food business. Covid-19 has also made the food sector leaner, so the more flexible your HACCP flow chart is for modifying, the better. Feel free to try HACCP builder software that helps you to create and modify your editable restaurant flowcharts at any time so you can focus on what you really need to, which is to manage your business.
Digital flow diagram solutions template for your food business
Making a HACCP plan requires a lot of time and needs technical experience and skills. If you are from an existing food company, you know how tedious and technical a HACCP plan can be. All documents must be made process and product-specific that is fit for your food manufacturing processes. Hiring a food safety consultant is usually how other food businesses finish their HACCP food safety plan.
To keep up with the fast-paced globalization of the food chain industry, you have to stay on top by quickly making your HACCP food safety plan and ensuring a consistent system to keep food safe. Serving safe food to your consumers is the most important thing to keep your business alive. To keep doing this, you have to meticulously make your HACCP plan.
At FoodDocs, it is our goal to help you build the perfect HACCP plan. Our HACCP plan builder software can generate a HACCP plan in just 1 hour for any type of business in the food industry. Included in our capabilities for planning is our smart flow diagram software for your comprehensive and complete HACCP flow diagram. Based on your answers to our basic couple of questions about your business, we can generate your flow chart for you automatically. If you feel like some things need to be revised with the flow diagram we suggested, you can easily change it to your liking with the customization options we have provided. Bad flow charts can cost you your business if food safety issues arise due to an inaccurate HACCP plan.
Our services at FoodDocs go beyond just making a detailed flow chart and HACCP plan for you, our wide capabilities include several free templates for monitoring forms built to ensure the production of safe food products and wholesome food.
Save up from hiring a food safety consultant and build your own HACCP plan and flow chart in just 1 hour. The HACCP plan that we build for you covers all stages including accurate identification of hazard and different stages of hazard analysis, established preventive measures, procedures for monitoring, corrective actions, critical limits, and comprehensive verification procedures. All the works! Our services give you the chance to spend more time managing your business rather than making a HACCP plan work. Join the other 10,000 satisfied customers and try out. We guarantee you will love it!
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