The food industry has and will always be a huge one, but at the same time, there are certain things that could go wrong which can result in loss of business and reputation as well as result in costly lawsuits. This is due to the fact that irresponsibility can cause people to get sick (or worse) when they eat contaminated food. Foodborne disease affects millions of people and the cost of getting a foodborne illness is astronomical.
To prevent such occurrences, a global management system for food safety known as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) was introduced to train employees to follow very strict guidelines so that any potential health problems from eating contaminated food can be averted. In fact, it actually involves many areas of the food industry including growing, manufacturing, distribution and consumption. Let's take a look at the 7 principles of HACCP.
📚 1. Hazard Analysis
This principle aims to identify any biological hazard with every action of the food process. Once identified, preventive measures are implemented to either eliminate or reduce the potential hazard. For example, could the hazard be physical, chemical or biological? Sometimes, cleaning products are present within close proximity. As food is being prepared, the time taken is favourable for bacteria to multiply. Preventive measures like wearing proper gloves and personal hygiene will reduce any threats.
📚 2. Identify Critical Control Points
You need to identify at which points any hazards can occur during the food preparation process. At each point identified, a preventive measure must be taken to eliminate the hazard.
📚 3. Determine Critical Limits For Each Critical Control Point
Critical limits are the maximum and minimum values of critical control points where a potential hazard can occur. Steps are taken to reduce or eliminate it to an acceptable level. As an example, keep cold foods cold (4 °C or lower) and hot foods hot (60 °C or higher). Anything between this is known as the danger zone. Another example is to check freezers and refrigerators and record temperatures to make sure they fall within the right parameters.
📚 4. Monitoring Critical Control Points
Once you have established the critical limits, you need to come up with procedures to monitor and control the critical control point. Any deviation can be dangerous, so you need to ensure that that any readings remain in the safe zone. Things such as temperatures are taken constantly so that levels remain acceptable.
📚 5. Taking Corrective Actions
If a critical limit has not been met, corrective action must be taken. The cause of a deviation must be identified and then corrected or eliminated. Steps must then be taken to ensure it does not occur again.
📚 6. Record-Keeping System
Record-keeping will show what critical limits are met and how it's being controlled. Keeping proper and accurate records means everything is accounted for, should any serious incident occur.
📚 7. Verification
Once the system is put in place, it has to be validated and the process must be ongoing. This means that regular routine checks must be carried out to make sure every worker is doing their job and following all procedures diligently.
Though all employees should have some form of HACCP training, for professionals like managers, it is quite comprehensive. They can then show workers in their team all the necessary procedures. It's also a good idea to have regular staff meetings to refresh every employee's understanding of what's been taught. Professionals not only need to know the 7 steps of HACCP, but they will also be trained in shipping and receiving, quality control, auditing and other relevant areas. These professionals will need to attend classes for which they will eventually receive a certificate. They will be in demand and will be in a better position when applying for jobs.
Training will include Food Safety Enhanced Program and Good Manufacturing Practices. Other subjects covered include basic food microbiology, sanitation, pest control and allergen control, to name a few. You can learn more about HACCP training at the dicentra website.
For people who work in kitchens, they can be trained in their own establishment. In a nutshell, they need to understand and follow a HACCP plan which is to understand how food can get unsafe, identify safe food practices and to make sure that food safety practices are done properly.