HACCP Part 2: Get On BoardThursday, June 10, 2021
The food safety management tool Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point has been around from the 1960s and is incorporated in all modern-day food safety standards worldwide. It is based on sound scientific principles, focusing on the hazards categories: biological (including microbiological), chemical, physical and allergen, with applicability across all areas of the food chain.
The worldwide acceptable HACCP standard is the Codex Alimentarius General Principles of Food Hygiene CXC 1-1969; the latest revision was in 2020. According to Codex, “Food business operators (FBOs) should be aware of and understand the hazards associated with the food they produce, transport, store and sell, and the measures required to control those hazards relevant to their business, so that food reaching consumers is safe and suitable for use.”
The standard has two chapters: Chapter 1 — Good Hygiene Practices, and Chapter 2 — Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) System and Guidelines for its Application. This discussion is focused on Chapter 2 which is further broken down into three sections.
Codex states that “HACCP principles can be considered throughout the food chain from primary production to final consumption, and their implementation should be guided by scientific evidence of risks to human health.” There are seven of these principles.
1. Conduct a hazard analysis and identify control measures
2. Determine critical control points (CCPs)
3. Establish validated critical limits
4. Establish a system to monitor control of CCPs
5. Establish corrective actions to be taken when monitoring indicates a deviation from a critical limit at a CCP has occurred
6. Validate the HACCP Plan and then establish procedures for verification to confirm that the HACCP system is working as intended
7. Establish documentation about all procedures and records appropriate to these principles and their application
The HACCP principles are further supported by a 12-step application/implementation process which can be found in section 3. The number 12 may seem daunting; however, each step is linked to a principle and is outlined in logical sequence and written in easily understood language.
A valid point to note is that the strength of the HACCP system is dependent of the foundation that was laid before. This foundation is a prerequisite programme that is fully implemented and well-maintained. Prerequisite programme will include the areas covered by good hygiene principles such as handling, storage and transport, worker health and hygiene, equipment and facility maintenance.
In establishing the HACCP system an FBO is to be mindful that it must be designed for their system, taking into consideration the intricacies and elements that make each system unique. Like life, an HACCP system is not static, which means the system is adjusted when there are any major changes in the food business; for example, change in ownership, location or formulation. This is in addition to routine periodic reviews that are part of the monitoring mechanism. Hint: Annual review is best practice.
The HACCP system is therefore a tool that FBO and others can use to implement and monitor food safety. Food business operators, get on board!
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