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HACCP food safety program - All you need to know
In the food industry, the term Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is very prominent. This program has long ...
In the food industry, the term Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is very prominent. This program has long been applied in manufacturing companies to minimize and control risks in the production chain that protect the welfare of consumers. In this article, we will learn what HACCP food safety program is and what constitutes an effective HACCP program example.
The first HACCP food safety program was conceptualized in 1960 by the NASA. The program aimed to provide astronauts food that is safe for consumption in space without the risk of any kind of foodborne illnesses. The project uses Critical Control Points to determine which steps are most prone to risks.
After NASA’s success, do you know which food company produced the first HACCP food safety program in the 1950s?
Soon after the success of the HACCP program for NASA, Pillsbury, together with the help of the National Conference on Food Protection (NCFP), established a food safety program to solve their recurring product complaints. The company became the first food production company that produced the first HACCP food safety program.
After the establishment of the first HACCP food safety program, it became the standard HACCP program for food companies around the globe.
What is a HACCP Food Safety Program?
A HACCP food safety program is a staple management system in the food industry that helps ensure that food safety is a top priority and is always upheld. The FDA identifies that a HACCP food safety program is made to prevent any problems regarding food safety occurs even before they happen.
Implementing a HACCP Food Safety Program
Several hours of brainstorming, evaluation, and documentation goes into creating a good enough program. A food safety program cannot be completed without satisfying a set of prerequisite programs. These programs are foundations of hygiene measures, conditions, and requirements. They aim to produce a sanitary environment and minimize the risk of hazards. They are guides for the proper design of facilities, implementation of guidelines, and verification of standards and processes. Prerequisite programs aim to promote proper design, implementation, and verification of processes.
Let’s see some of the most common HACCP prerequisite programs that are required to implement a HACCP food safety program.
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
GMPs are methods, equipment, facilities, and controls for producing processed foods. This prerequisite program is also a minimum sanitary and processing requirements for producing safe and wholesome products. It is a part of quality assurance that ensures products are consistently produced and controlled while minimizing contamination.
- Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP)
SSOP is a set of guidelines that aim to maintain a certain level of sanitary conditions in manufacturing and provide a daily monitoring guide for its maintenance.
- Pest Control
This prerequisite program aims to implement four basic principles: deny entry, shelter, and food, and destruction.
- Raw Material Control
- Production Control
- Facilities Zoning
- Waste Management
Some of the important aspects of these programs include training personnel in terms of hygiene and proper behavior in the manufacturing facilities. Orientation and regular reminders on how to use protective gears, operate machinery, and how to keep the environment consistently clean are also part of these programs.
How many steps are there in a HACCP program?
In principle, a HACCP program is made by following five preparatory steps and seven main principles.
Preparatory steps for a HACCP food safety program
- Assemble the HACCP Team
The members of an effective HACCP food safety program must consist of people who are experts in the specific process being evaluated. This means that they must have a specific responsibility to play in the processing as much as in developing the HACCP program. The whole team must consist of people from varying fields of production to ensure that all aspects are covered.
- Product description
A full description of the product should be made including relevant safety information such as composition, physical/chemical structure, packaging, durability and storage conditions, and method of distribution.
- End-user description and purpose of product
The intended use of the product must be clear as well as what must not be done, mixed, or prepared with the materials. Similarly, product consumers must be identified. This aspect of a HACCP food safety program includes those that are not allowed to consume the product as a result of allergy or vulnerability.
- Create a flow diagram
This diagram will serve as a complete guide of how the process of making the product is executed. It will also serve as the backbone of the HACCP food safety program in determining the critical control points.
- Verify the flow diagram
Upon mapping a diagram of the process, the team must ensure that all inflow and outflow of resources are considered by conducting an on-site inspection and verification.
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Principles of HACCP Program
Principle 1) Conduct hazard analysis
After satisfying the preparatory stages, the team is tasked to list several hazards along with the whole processing flow. These hazards can be physical, chemical, or biological and are identified as anything which can cause harm to the consumers when ingested. Identifying these hazards is a significant task as this is what will determine the managing actions of the HACCP food safety program.
Principle 2) Establish Critical Control Points (CCP)
The team must accurately identify which among the listed hazards have the potential to become a food safety hazard if deviations occur. Such hazards are those that can cause illness or injury if not closely monitored.
Principle 3) Establish Critical Limits
Deviations, although unwanted, can be set to tolerable limits. This task is where the team must create a minimum and maximum tolerable limits to these critical control points to render the process adequate.
Principle 4) Monitoring procedures
To determine if the CCPs are being controlled, a HACCP food safety program must consist of monitoring procedures to ensure accurate recording for future verification. These monitoring procedures will also be used for traceability purposes.
Principle 5) Determine corrective actions
Despite establishing control points, deviations are sometimes inevitable especially if regular maintenance procedures are not observed. As part of an effective HACCP food safety program, the team must develop appropriate actions to address breaches of minimum or maximum limits. The approach may differ in each situation.
Principle 6) Verification procedure
After the implementation of the HACCP program, regular verification of its effectiveness as well as efficiency is important. This is to address if the program is still fit for the current processing layout.
Principle 7) Documentation and record-keeping
An effective HACCP food safety program has a good traceability system that roots from proper documentation and record-keeping. As such, it is part of implementing it to file all documents about the, particularly concerned process.
HACCP is an integral program of a food safety system
A company’s performance is just as good as its food safety management program. Establishing a good HACCP program assures your consumers that what they will be receiving are quality and safe products. Implementation of an effective program requires essential knowledge of what is a HACCP program by learning the basic principles and steps on how to create a working HACCP program example. Prerequisites for a HACCP food safety program are equally important and are considered as the foundation of a good HACCP system.
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