FoodDocs helped us to systematize all stages of food safety control. The annual audit showed that the safety of our food products is 100%.
Food safety specialist vs HACCP software
When starting a food business, whether it is a cafe, restaurant, pub, canteen, bakery, food truck, or shop, you will ...
When starting a food business, whether it is a cafe, restaurant, pub, canteen, bakery, food truck, or shop, you will soon realize how many documents are required to show that your business is compliant with the health and safety standards. These are legal requirements and include HACCP certification together with HACCP plan creation. As the HACCP certification process can be highly challenging, especially for newly born companies, let's run through the different options to comply with the food law and discuss which options are the most cost-effective and efficient.
HACCP is mandatory
According to law, every food business requires a HACCP plan. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and is based on the 7 principles of HACCP - the steps you need to take to manage food safety risks in your food business.
It is in essence a food safety guide that is used to identify and evaluate any potential food safety hazards and ensure that food is safe for consumers. This is necessary to control or eliminate any potential hazards present during the production process, and for all aspects of food safety.
Hazards may be biological, chemical, or physical. Following food safety standards offers customers a sense of security, which is especially important during these times of crisis. The food safety inspectors also require a HACCP plan just before or after starting your business, so you always need to be ready for food safety inspections. Your HACCP plan will be reviewed periodically by authorities and needs to be updated if there are any food-related changes in the menu, production, or when new products are used.
How to get a HACCP plan?
Traditionally, a popular option is to hire a food safety consultant, food safety specialist, or food safety expert to provide you with all the required documents. Also, when the budget is limited, and there is a lot of free time, you can compose all needed documentation by yourself, according to governmental instructions. Sometimes a HACCP consultant provides electronic documents (word, excel), but in some cases, all you get is a bunch of papers. Fortunately, due to the rapid growth of innovative solutions, new, innovative food-safety solutions are available to help you cut costs, save time, and support you after all your compliance documentation has been completed.
Let’s compare traditional, paper-based solutions and innovative, digital HACCP software.
Metric - time
It’s well known that opening a new food business is the busiest time of your life. There are so many tasks to do that you forget what it means to eat or sleep. As written above, getting your compliance documents done is a must, and there is no way you can avoid them.
As governmental instructions are lengthy and complicated and are full of difficult phrases to understand, business owners often hire a local food safety specialist to take care of all required compliance documentation. All you need to do is interview your HACCP consultant and provide them with all required documents to build a HACCP plan. Getting your HACCP plan from a food safety specialist takes approximately 3-4 weeks, at least. There is a significant amount of work to do. A food safety expert will need to book a meeting with a client, visit the site and interview their client, too. Once they have collected all the necessary information, they will create a risk assessment, make decision trees, produce a plan of the premises, equipment, water, and sewerage, etc. All of these take time - to assess the information, formulate a plan, and create the necessary documents.
HACCP software works like a food safety specialist, but 500 times faster and using machine learning to become smarter day by day. It means the only thing that takes time is inputting your data at any time that suits you, taking less than 1 hour. Software needs to know the same information as your food safety consultant, like; What do you do? What raw materials do you use? What do you sell? How much food do you sell? What kind of processes do you have? Who are your customers? To save your time, all answers are selections, and you barely need to write anything.
According to your answers, a HACCP builder automatically creates all necessary parts of a HACCP plan, including the 7 principles of HACCP, hazards assessment, a flow chart, and the set of food safety tasks you need to complete in your business activities. The platform has built-in solutions to create different plans and layouts: location plans, waste plans, premises plans, and water & sewerage plans. All this makes a HACCP software much faster than any HACCP consultant can ever become.
Metric – money
When opening a new food business, it’s not only the busiest time of your life but also a time when you see a lot of costs every month, like rent, utilities, equipment, dishes, raw materials, staff, stock systems, marketing, etc. And the most challenging part is that all costs need to be covered before the money finally comes.
To get your compliance documents done for free, use local governmental instructions, but please keep in mind that these need time and know-how to work through. With all the required documentation, a paper-based HACCP plan from a food safety consultant costs approximately $1000-$1500. A HACCP consultant is a highly skilled professional who will take time to create all the mandatory documentation. Some consultants may charge per hour even if there is not a lot of work. The price depends on the size of the job, how complicated your business is, and how high is the food safety risk.
To get your HACCP plan done with the help of a HACCP software costs a $239 one-time fee. This price also includes the access, editing, downloading, and storing of your HACCP plan for 30 days, in addition to a 14-day trial. It’s crucially important to edit your HACCP plan– because things change, especially in the food business after Covid-19, so the more flexible it is to modifying – the better. But let’s cover this topic in the next paragraph.
Metric – updating your HACCP plan
A HACCP plan must be formulated according to your company’s current status. This means that you need to change your HACCP plan if you make any changes in your company related to food - menu changes, starting a food delivery service, starting a food donation program, or adding new high-risk raw materials. Your HACCP plan needs to reflect any changes that are made to your business.
If you use a paper-based system, you will need to go through the governmental instructions again or hire a food safety specialist to apply the changes that have been made. The HACCP consultant will go through the risk assessment and decide what control points are critical or not. This takes time and will generate additional costs.
In the digital HACCP software system, you can make all the changes yourself, any time you wish. With two clicks, your system is up to date again. For example, if you want to start a food delivery, you simply log into your account, add the “food delivery” process to your business profile and confirm the amendments. The software will let you know if you have any new additional critical control points.
Traditional and innovative solutions together
Although digital solutions are a great option, they may seem too complicated, and you may not know how to change from paper to a digital system. The great news is that many food safety consultants work tightly together with HACCP software companies. They know how to use the software and help food businesses implement digital solutions. At the same time, they can help their customers with other services like HACCP training, completing food analyses or food safety audits, etc.
It is great to see that both traditional HACCP experts and digital systems can work together to achieve the same goal - to keep customers and food safe. For that, contact the HACCP software team and let them know the expectations.
Don’t know where to start with your food safety documents? Feel free to sign up for our HACCP software, and you’ll have 14 days free trial to give us a chance. Also, check our free HACCP plan template hub, where you can download the most important and wanted parts of your HACCP plan – totally free of charge.