The seven HACCP principles are achieved by analyzing food hazards in your manufacturing process and addressing them accordingly.
What is HACCP? - The Ultimate Guide
The HACCP food management system is a preventive tool that helps your HACCP team to manage your operations by ...
- The HACCP food management system is a preventive tool that helps your HACCP team to manage your operations by identifying, analyzing, and addressing food safety hazards.
- Building your own comprehensive HACCP plan using the traditional way can be intimidating, time-consuming, and requires sufficient expertise.
- FoodDocs does all the work for your HACCP plan in just 1 hour and continuously helps you in monitoring and updating your HACCP system.
WHAT WE'LL COVER:
- HACCP background
- What does H.A.C.C.P. mean?
- What is HACCP and what is HACCP not?
- Prerequisite programs for a HACCP plan
- How is HACCP applied in a food industry setting and which companies need HACCP?
- What is a HACCP plan?
- When and why do you need a HACCP plan?
- How does a HACCP plan keep my food safe
- Is a HACCP plan difficult to create?
- Who will verify my HACCP plan?
- What is HACCP certification?
- FoodDocs: Create a HACCP plan in 1 hour
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or HACCP is an international regulatory standard for food businesses to be compliant and to offer safe food for the customers. It is a systematic approach for hazard identification, assessment of risk, control, and verification activities. Whether it is a cafe, restaurant, hotel, shop, retail food establishment, or home kitchen making food to sell to customers – any food operation that sells or serves food must provide control of food safety.
In other words, everyone in the food industry must have a HACCP plan so your customers can be sure that the food you're offering them, is always safe to eat.
It is not a plan that gets drawn up and forgotten. The real HACCP meaning gets revealed through practice. We believe that if the plan is easy to use, a HACCP plan becomes a tool that helps you evaluate your food safety hazards in detail to guarantee safe food products to all your customers. For you to know how to comply, first, you must learn what is HACCP exactly.
The creation of HACCP goes way back to 1960 when the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) was faced with the challenge of finding ways to come up with safe food for space expeditions. Foodborne illnesses could mean life or death for an astronaut in space. There would be limited resources and equipment to aid if a food safety breach occurs.
Because of this concern, NASA used their concept of critical control points (CCP) from their engineering management into creating finished products for future space explorations. These points reveal areas that have significant risks and are considered hazards. After the success of NASA in implementing this concept, the food company Pilsbury adopted the CCP and used them to solve their food safety issues.
These successful applications of the CCP concept led the regulatory agency FDA to task Pilsburry to establish and manage training programs for other industries - thus the birth of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. A HACCP plan is an international standard and is recognized by almost all food safety agencies. A HACCP plan describes your business' processes, associates dangers that you may experience, and helps to keep away from critical limits with the help of control measures. It also addresses these risks and dangers and provides appropriate actions to make your finished product safe.
HACCP is defined as an active food safety program that uses a systematic approach to establish a preventive measure system and resolve the loss of control over food safety. It is basically a plan that aims to evaluate and monitor the whole food processing and conduct hazard identification and address challenges with food safety. The HACCP system is used to prevent unsafe food from reaching consumers and control risks. The term HACCP represents the three main factors in this food safety management system.
Let's go through the meaning of these 5 letters:Hazard - This HACCP component is what the food safety program aims to identify. Foodborne hazards are any contaminations that could be the result of inadequate processing, dirty raw materials or cooking utensil, or even cross-contamination. Potential hazards can be physical, biological, chemical, or allergenic in nature. They are called food safety hazards because of the potential risk they carry that could harm public health through unsafe food. Also, it's important to evaluate the degree of risk to each hazard
- Physical hazards - are objects that can cause harm upon contacts such as ingestion which can lead to choking, cuts, or injury. These physical hazards can be in the form of filth, leaves, hair, glass shards, or pieces of metals.
- Chemical hazard - in addition to food safety risks, chemical contaminations include the presence of unintentional adulteration. An example would be the detection of acrylamide in the product. This is a chemical by-product indicative of exceeding the advised cooking temperature of products rich in sugars and amino acids. Acrylamide is a known carcinogenic compound that forms when food is heated excessively for a long time. These hazards also include toxic contaminants from chemical control items such as pesticides, biocides, and cleaning agents.
- Biological hazards - are a result of microorganisms which include bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses, and parasites. Their elimination is considered as a CCP and requires extensive biological risk assessments. Microorganisms and the toxins they produce are the leading cause of foodborne illnesses in the food industry. Perhaps a well-known microbial pathogen is Salmonella in chicken which is addressed by cooking the poultry meat to the right internal temperature. Other prominent biological hazards include Staphylococcus aureus and its toxins, Clostridium botulinum, Campylobacter, E.coli, and Listeria.
- Allergenic hazards - allergens are substances in food that can cause hypersensitivity to certain persons. Their presence can sometimes be unavoidable, therefore are required to be declared on product labels. Some of the most common allergens include gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, and soy.
Analysis - this aspect pertains to the evaluation part of a HACCP plan. The HACCP is a food management system that deals with all stages of hazard analysis and accurate identification of hazards that could arise from the previously mentioned list of hazards. This process includes the assessment of the whole food operation from raw material production, procurement, receiving, handling, up to processing, logistics, and consumption. HACCP determines at which point could hazard contaminate the process and the product and can they be considered as critical control points using science-based methods of analysis.
CCP - the last component of the acronym HACCP is the Critical Control Points. These points are the process steps within the whole food chain that needs accurate evaluation and require controls to remove potentially or inherently present food safety hazards or at least reduce them to an acceptable level. Critical control points require corrective actions, monitoring procedures, and verification activities as control measures.
HACCP plan is commonly mistaken to be synonymous with a food safety plan and termed singularly as HACCP system. Both plans are considered food safety management systems but have a few differences. Where a food safety plan is only concerned with establishing preventive measures, a HACCP plan also requires monitoring and verification activities. In addition, a HACCP plan is focused on monitoring critical control points whereas a food safety plan is concerned with all other operations.
What is HACCP, and what is HACCP not?
Whether you are just starting out on a business or a long-time player in the food industry, the uses of HACCP can be a bit intimidating and confusing at the same time. It is important to know what are the main aims of HACCP and what points does it not cover.
What is HACCP?
- A system to reduce the risk of a food safety hazard and impose corrective actions
- A system that helps to educate your HACCP team when handing food and to prevent food safety scandals
- Management tool - a HACCP system can be used to plan operational activities, monitor and document processes, and can be used as a comprehensive verification procedure in times of recalls.
- Risk probability and stages of hazard analysis
- Product and process specific - HACCP activities can be specific to certain processes and products. Critical control points established for measuring the internal temperature of a chicken cannot be used for the refrigeration temperature of peeled potatoes to prevent the multiplication of pathogens.
- Requires prerequisite programs - comprehensive food safety system includes Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP)
- Preventive in nature - instead of acting on an issue as it happens, HACCP is made to proactively address potential risks and reduce their occurrence or at least reduce them to an acceptable level. It increases the assurance of food safety.
What is HACCP not?
- A quality control system - HACCP is more concerned with the food safety aspect of processing rather than the final quality of the products.
- Government program - although required by some food regulatory agencies such as the FDA regulatory agency, HACCP is not a program initiated by the government. Rather, it is a system that a food chain business complies with to achieve a certification of safe food operations. It's for the sake of your customers and to protect your business from loss of control.
- Zero-risk program - a HACCP food safety program does not guarantee that all possibilities of risks will be eliminated. What this management tool does is that it reduce these risks to an acceptable level.
- Stand-alone system - this food safety program is built by a multi-component system that is composed of other programs equally aimed to maintain food safety.
- Reactive in nature
Prerequisite programs for a HACCP plan
Before being able to create an efficient HACCP food safety program and implement it, prerequisite programs must be implemented. Prerequisite programs are the foundation of food safety and the HACCP system and are composed of basic food safety principles. They are concerned with the hygiene and sanitary condition of a business aimed at reducing the risk of potential hazards. Put simply, your company needs to implement programs such as Good Manufacturing Practices and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures prior to making a HACCP plan.
Some prerequisite programs are used as guidelines in building a suitable processing facility design and proper verification tasks if they comply with minimum criteria for food safety. Two of the most common prerequisite programs are the cGMP and SSOP.
Current Good Manufacturing Program (cGMP)
This prerequisite program describes methods, equipment, facilities, and control of food safety and the minimum standards required to be met by manufacturers. The cGMP includes the following components:
The cGMP includes the following components:
- Facilities and equipment - ensures that facilities are all in good condition and are made of easily cleaned materials that prevent accumulating dirt which could serve as contamination. The cGMP is also concerned with creating a process flow that prevents cross-contamination such as a one-way design to ensure clean facilities at all times. Another example would be the need to create a facility for conducting analytical testing for the safety of your products.
- Personnel HACCP training and hygiene - refers to the familiarization and education of personnel with proper hygiene, use of protective gears, proper behavior during production, and awareness of food safety hazards.
- Pest control - prerequisite programs aim to deny entry, shelter, and food to pests and find ways to eliminate them.
- Traceability and recall - a reliable system is the means by which a company is able to follow any food product that is unsafe.
Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP)
The SSOP is a list of procedures for maintaining sanitary conditions in a manufacturing facility. It was designed to comply with the cGMP basic condition.
- Safety of water and ice
- Cleanliness of food contact surfaces
- Prevention of cross-contamination
- Handwashing facility
- Protection from adulterants
- Proper labeling, storage, and use of toxic materials
- Control measures of employee health condition
- Exclusion of pests
- Sanitation program and facility
- Control of glass, metal, and plastics
A HACCP plan is built around the principles of prerequisite programs. Other prerequisite programs may include allergen control programs and food hygiene regulations. Where HACCP plans are note mandated by other companies, prerequisite programs such as the cGMP are required because they are minimum standards for safe working conditions. By complying with a strong set of prerequisite programs, your team becomes prepared for a HACCP food safety program.
How is HACCP applied in a food industry setting and which companies need HACCP?
The aim of the HACCP plan is to prevent potential risks from causing food safety issues. The application of a HACCP plan starts from the production of raw materials up to the tables of the consumers, thus the farm-to-table concept.
In the farm setting, HACCP is applied in the different stages of growing produce. Some of the main concerns which can be addressed by a HACCP system include facility sanitation, proper application of fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemical agents, and chemical tests for the presence of residual compounds in the produce. Additionally, monitoring and verification procedures for postharvest conditions of harvested products are also under a HACCP system.
In a production setting, HACCP is most useful in keeping the established parameters for product standards. In a canning industry, adequate internal temperature and time of the thermal process are essential to keep the food free from any microbial pathogen. Different time-temperature combinations are required depending on the packaging materials and the nature of the product. In addition to specific control point monitoring requirements for these parameters, additional microbial testing may be required by a HACCP system as part of a comprehensive verification.
During distribution and storage of products, like retail food establishments, or any kind of food service companies, like hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals, safe food handling activities are very important. One of the most important critical control points includes keeping temperature. Some products cannot stay in ambient temperature for too long or pathogens may start to proliferate. Such is the case for raw meats. When transporting products, businesses may have troubles with elevated temperatures in delivery trucks which contribute to the growth of spoilage microorganisms or other unwanted chemical reactions. Proper monitoring records must be provided to ensure that the standard temperatures are being met throughout the whole supply chain.
What is a HACCP plan?
A HACCP plan is a written and legal document and is a compilation of the whole business process flow, hazard evaluation, control procedures, and continuous monitoring activities based on the principles of HACCP. Making a HACCP plan means having to spend a lot of time in the office, having meetings, inspecting the whole process layout, and oftentimes hiring a food safety consultant.
It is true that writing a HACCP plan is laborious and very critical but you do not have to worry. We at FoodDocs have devised a way to make the whole process easy, accurate, and less expensive! It may seem like a lot of effort, but your HACCP plan actually serves a very active, everyday purpose – to have people coming back to your establishment.
By following a HACCP plan, or becoming HACCP certified, you build trust in your brand, and this, in turn, makes it more likely for you to have return visitors. You also need to have a HACCP plan before or after starting your food business and have your HACCP plan periodically reviewed if there are changes in the production processes.
When and why do you need a HACCP plan?
You need a HACCP plan for two reasons.
First, having a HACCP is legally required if you are in the food industry. The existence of the HACCP plan and its compliance with the actual realities in your kitchen or food serving area is controlled by a government health inspector at least once a year.
How does a HACCP plan keep my food safe?
It helps you serve safe products
Your HACCP plan has a summary of the business location and rooms where your food handling takes place. This will help to ensure that your employees, food, and waste all have a safe path through the rooms and past the equipment. No one wishes for pathogenic bacteria to spread from raw food to other food and surfaces. Prerequisite programs and standards are established and monitored with your HACCP plan to help you deliver safe food products.
It prepares you for any deviations
It gives you a full overview of all the steps related to food handling. These steps include the acquisition, food preservation methods, and the cooking process until your food product is delivered to the consumer. The overview, with its description, is equally necessary for the person selling vegetables from their garden and with a big retail chain. Technological schemes and production process descriptions have their own place that helps thoroughly analyze potential hazards and the actions required to address them.
For example, what precautions are taken to avoid employees' hair and jewelry getting into food? What food preservation methods are used to prevent food from deteriorating due to the incorrect internal temperature or damaged packaging materials? What happens to the food when the refrigerators stop working or there is a power outage? What if the power outage only lasted 5 minutes? What if your food was left for too long at ambient temperature?
It helps everything run smoothly
Writing your own HACCP plan the old way
Here is a quick rundown of what awaits you when making a manual HACCP Plan and lets you see the tasks behind it. The depth and complexity of a HACCP plan vary depending on its purpose. A general HACCP plan can be used as a guideline for everyday activities such as preoperational activities and calibration. Although, some HACCP plans can be very specific and requires an in-depth analysis of the HACCP process.
Below are the preliminary steps in creating a HACCP plan:
- Assemble a HACCP Team - in order to create a comprehensively detailed HACCP plan, a team of employees from different departments must be formed. All participating members must have specific expertise about the processing line. The members must be multidisciplinary and committed to building an effective HACCP plan. The team must be able to create a food safety hazard analysis, identify the hazards, recommend critical control points, limits, CCP monitoring procedures, and corrective actions in times of deviations, and validate the HACCP plan.
- Describe the food and its distribution - a HACCP plan must have a detailed declaration of ingredients of your product, its processing method, the condition during its distribution, and the correct packaging materials it needs. Your HACCP plan will contain the required keeping temperatures, moisture level, oxygen availability, and other conditions needed to be met to transport and keep wholesome food.
- Describe the intended use and consumers of the food - identifying the intended consumers help the team in determining the potential risk of introducing inappropriate ingredients to immunocompromised individuals such as infants, the elderly, and pregnant women. An example would be the common presence of lead contamination in matcha powders. Building a HACCP plan would help monitor levels of lead contamination safe for consumption by pregnant individuals who are most vulnerable to the hazard.
- Develop a flow diagram that describes the process - this outlines the steps in making your product. Making a HACCP plan allows the team to verify and point out the potential food hazards in each process step and if there are succeeding methods that will control them. This also allows the team to create a controllable processing step to prevent the risk from happening. The diagram does not need to be professionally made. A regular block-type flow diagram would perfectly do.
- Verify the flow diagram - prior to applying the main principles of HACCP, the team must verify the flow diagram themselves by conducting an onsite inspection.
After applying these steps, your HACCP plan is not yet done. You still have to apply the seven key principles of HACCP to your flow diagram. The seven HACCP principles ensure your food is kept safe throughout its life cycle, from raw material production to consumption. If you follow all the HACCP steps, your HACCP plan will make everyone nod their heads in approval, the government authorities, and your happy (and healthy!) customers alike. The seven HACCP principles include conducting a hazard evaluation, determining critical control points, establishing critical limits, creating monitoring procedures, establishing appropriate corrective action procedures, making comprehensive verification procedures, and record-keeping and documentation.
All these steps require hours of meetings and collaborations with experts. It can take up to 4 weeks to get the HACCP done while you don’t have much control over the process. Luckily, FoodDocs has devised a way to do all these things for you. Learn more about how can FoodDocs HACCP builder help your business comply and serve safe food to all your consumers.
Is a HACCP plan difficult to create?
Compiling a comprehensive HACCP plan takes a month on average with old-school methods. It demands detailed knowledge of all food safety requirements and adherence to deadlines. Large companies tend to compile a team of experts to create plans, while in small enterprises, it becomes a one-person job. Should the employees lack prior experience, the assistance of external experts and food safety supervisors is often needed, costing hundreds of dollars.
The practice has proved that the daily management of a HACCP plan, often over a hundred pages long, can be complicated and inconvenient for a company. It is difficult to know and remember everything, and not every business has the time to go through the papers all the time. This means that there is a constant threat to food safety in the food chain. And the officials who come for their yearly check-ups are not allowed to approve a plan that has faulty or missing information.
This is how usually one HACCP plan looks like:
During the HACCP plan making procedure, you will be required to do some, if not all of the following things:
- book an on-site meeting,
- go through an interview,
- create risk assessments for potential hazards,
- make a decision tree,
- create a plan of premises,
- create a plan of equipment,
- create plans for water, sewerage, etc.
- verification tasks for the flow chart and the whole HACCP
Food safety doesn't need to be complicated
Requirements by regulatory authorities may sometimes be too complicated, long, and hard to find especially if you are new to the food industry. This reason is why food business owners often turn to HACCP consultants for help. Most often when hiring a consultant, unfortunately, people's approach to food safety changes. The responsibility to ensure food safety becomes delegated and actual food handlers become less involved which shouldn't be the case. We believe that food safety compliance is something so important that everybody should understand and be involved.
With or without a HACCP consultative process, food safety compliance is something that needs to be understandable and emphasized every day from the first minute you step into your food business. That's why we have created FoodDocs and keep on improving it - to help people understand HACCP rules and how to follow them and wholesome food through the easiest possible way. We want to improve the approach to food safety by making it more understandable for ordinary people.
Who will verify my HACCP plan?
A HACCP plan is built and evaluated internally by the team you set up for establishing this plan. Local authorities usually evaluate your HACCP plan together with all other HACCP documentation. In some countries, audits are done before opening your food business, whereas, in other countries, audits and activity of verification come after opening. Food safety agencies usually visit your business without informing you, at least once a year. Keep in mind that this inspection aims to ensure that the food you're selling to your intended consumers is safe and not to bully you. A food safety inspector acts as a guide and will help you when you're in trouble.
What is HACCP certification?
Resellers and distributors, sometimes also regulatory authorities require a HACCP plan, sometimes even a HACCP certification. This means submitting to an accredited third-party certification body that will audit your manufacturing process and the effective implementation of your HACCP plan. For example, Amazon requires it for concrete products as well as with several retail stores. They require a HACCP certification to ensure the safety of the food in their business establishment or e-store.
Be sure that all your HACCP system documents are easily found, including the actual plan, monitoring sheets (including archived records), acts, certificates, plans, schedules, and all other additional documents related to HACCP. As you see, there are lots of paperwork to be stored and found on time. The easiest way to store all this documentation is to have a digital HACCP program where everything is stored automatically on a continuous basis and easily found.
FoodDocs: Create a HACCP plan in 1 hour
FoodDocs thinks for you and reminds you of the several obligations and deadlines that might otherwise be forgotten. For example, FoodDocs informs the kitchen teams when to monitor food internal temperature and the whole cooking process, take food analyses and do chemical tests, order pest control, do the HACCP audit and redo hygiene training, and renew your personnel's health certificates, all in real-time. The platform works as a central knowledge base for your entire staff.
With FoodDocs, you can be sure that your HACCP is compiled according to the law, that all necessary requirements are fulfilled, and all the required food safety documents are included.
Signing up with FoodDocs not only allows you to create your own, customizable HACCP plan in the fastest way possible, it also gives you the following benefits:
- cut down on costs,
- switch to digital procedures for monitoring & saving time on paperwork,
- ensure traceability,
- monitor food-related safety processes in real-time,
- manage your team from one place,
- maintain efficient food safety systems as you go along.
FoodDocs creates your HACCP plan based on a bank of food safety knowledge on regulations and laws all over the world. This feature ensures that your HACCP plan will be accurate with what the authorities require. FoodDocs even supports you after all compliance documentation is completed.
The platform has a built-in solution for creating different plans - waste, premises, water, and sewerage plans. You can create them easily with our built-in tool, just by dragging all the needed points and arrows onto the plan. There is no need to use special designer tools or interior design programs.
It is a unique and amazing solution that makes FoodDocs 500 x faster than a traditional paper-based HACCP plan.
Digital HACCP plans are the way to go
Complying with a HACCP plan means regularly conducting a HACCP audit updating your documents on the basis of law and regulation updates for continual improvement. With all the focus you need to devote to your actual operations, daily management of paper HACCP plans is complicated and inconvenient. Keeping up with all these changes and remembering everything from a very long HACCP plan is not an easy task.
FoodDocs allows you to keep all your information, procedures for monitoring, and schedules at the palm of your hands. You can keep all these things digitally and completely paperless.
All HACCP plans can extensively vary depending on your location, your nature of business, and other factors. Doing all the paperwork can be very intimidating. At FoodDocs, all the necessary data are stored within its system. Food safety laws and regulations that are specific to your country will be applied to your HACCP plan. This ensures an accurate food safety management system for your business.
More space for all your information
Food safety laws and regulations change every so often. This means more paperwork for your whole team! Going digital with your HACCP plan lets you save up on physical space and store all your information and HACCP records.
Safe and reliable
Using your conventional HACCP monitoring procedures makes your business susceptible to manipulation, misplacement, or intentionally damaging activities. A digital HACCP plan with FoodDocs ensures that all your data are up to date and well protected.
As a bonus, you will also spend less time educating your staff because you can add all relevant instructions and videos to the task, making briefing new staff members quick and effortless.
Your smart assistant in the kitchen
FoodDocs was created to give everyone a chance to eat safe food and to help food business owners regain their time. Every establishment that serves or sells food can benefit from the features FoodDocs has to offer:
Quick and personal. As a digital food safety platform, FoodDocs allows you to compile a HACCP plan in an hour instead of undertaking a month-long paper management marathon through corrective action and landscapes for analysis of hazards.
The program creates a HACCP plan according to the business activities and your current requirements based on straightforward questions such as:
- what is your business type?
- what raw materials are used?
- what kind of food do you sell?
- how big is the volume?
- what duties do you have in your business?
What's more, is that your HACCP plan is very much customizable to your needs. With just a few clicks, you can edit your HACCP food safety plan should there be any changes with your process.
Notifications. FoodDocs ensures that you will never forget important dates such as your scheduled audit date. No one would want to miss preparation for that! It also helps you remember monitoring times in case you get too busy supervising the team. Get automatic reminders of the important things that matter for your food safety concerns.
Reduced risk of food contamination. As a digital system, FoodDocs gives you the necessary flexibility to effectively monitor hygiene practices which helps to reduce the risk of food contamination.
With FoodDocs you can be sure all your food safety documents are compiled according to the law and that all the necessary requirements are always fulfilled. And the best thing? Getting your HACCP done in one hour means that your business will be ready to take off as soon as you are.
FoodDocs is the key to your HACCP journey
Regardless if you are a first-time food business owner or have been in the industry for quite a while, the fact remains that making a HACCP plan and having a new process HACCP certified is intimidating. FoodDocs takes away your worries about not knowing your ropes around the food safety management system.
With FoodDocs, you do not need to worry about compiling tons of paperwork just to make sure that your HACCP plan is working and complies with your local standards. It's time to leave the old way and save up on papers by going digital when it comes to your HACCP plan.
Let the expert AI system of FoodDocs do all the technical stuff for you and focus more on supervising your business. Sign-up with FoodDocs now and get a chance to try our 14-day free trial. You won't even need that much time to finish your HACCP plan! Get your HACCP plan ready in just 1 hour.