Food preparation, manufacturing, packaging and distribution go through processes that should ensure that the food is safe and clean at all times. A standard process that implements a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan is essential in the food industry. In writing an HACCP, a thorough understanding of the detailed processes is important. HACCP is a preventive system being implemented mainly in the food and pharmaceutical industries. This is done mainly by identifying existing hazards that will cause risk in the handling of food and ingredients. Then the steps to prevent these risks and hazards are identified as well. There are seven principles that are being followed in coming up with an HACCP plan.
- Your HACCP will depend on the process in which food will be handled – whether it will be cooked, manufactured, packed, or distributed. First, identify the potential hazards that will compromise the food’s cleanliness and freshness. There are biological, physical and chemical conditions wherein food may already be harmful when eaten.
- Once you have identified the potential biological, chemical and physical hazards, you will need to establish a critical control point (CCP). A CCP is a process or step that can be taken in the manufacturing process to prevent, eliminate or minimize the hazard in such a way that food will remain safe for consumption.
- Once CCPs are identified, you need to set a critical limit for each CCP. This is the minimum or maximum limit for the existence of a biological, chemical or physical hazard to maintain the CCP within acceptable levels.
- Now that the hazards and limits are established, a monitoring process should be created to keep an eye on the CCPs and critical limits. Monitoring is very essential to the successful implementation of an HACCP. Each monitoring procedure for each CCR should be indicated in the HACCP plan.
- Since you have already identified how to monitor the CCPs and its limits, you need to determine how to take care of deviations from the limits that have been set. These are called corrective actions. This process makes sure that any item that does not meet the critical limits will not be distributed for public consumption.
- In food manufacturing, it is very essential to maintain records of each process and the findings for the monitoring process. This will help the company improve its processes in the future, especially if there have been a lot of deviations from the limits that have been set. Corrective actions should be documented and the results monitored as well.
- Establish a validation process to check whether the HACCP plan is being properly implemented and to see whether it is working as planned. This is a very tedious process, but it is worth the time and effort because in the food industry, one mistake may lead to big losses in business, and may also result to lawsuits regarding violations of safety standards. Verification process should be a regular activity. This provides very helpful input on how to further improve the manufacturing process and the monitoring of CCPs and its limits.