What We Take for Granted is A Matter of Critical Control
In this post, we’ll answer the question, “What is HACCP?” We’ll also look at why complying is essential, who it’s important to, and what the main points to consider are.
What is HACCP certified?
First, what is HACCP? HACCP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point is a set of international standards that define effective food safety control. The certification requires you to undergo an audit by an independent, authorized body.
The system centres on seven critical areas. These are:
- The identification of potential hazards.
- Determining control points that make sense.
- Determining what the control parameters are. For example, how long you have to heat a particular food to destroy bacteria.
- Creating a system that allows effective monitoring of the control points.
- Working out what to do to counteract adverse effects and changes that should be made to minimize hazards.
- Set up a verification procedure to confirm that your HACCP strategy is effective.
- Put stringent record-keeping measures into place.
Why is HACCP important?
These audits help you to identify and neutralize hazards to food safety. It works on a system of control limits. Each limit links up to a critical point of the production process. By operating with a few different waypoints in this manner, it becomes easier to identify areas of risk.
For consumers, this process is crucial because it improves the safety of food.
For business, there are several reasons to undergo these audits. These include:
- In some cases, it’s a condition of trade. Without certification, food businesses may not be allowed to operate here.
- It may also be mandatory for businesses to have this system in place.
- Many businesses comply irrespective of regulatory requirements. It makes sense to ensure that their product is as safe as possible.
Who uses the HACCP?
Businesses in the foodservice or food manufacturing industry will use this set of standards. The idea behind putting these principles in place is to deal with potential hazards in a timely manner, which can save the business a significant amount of money.
The alternative is end-product testing. End-product testing is effective at detecting issues. Unfortunately, at that stage, the only option is to discard the entire batch. If a contaminated product goes to the market, it raises significant liability issues.
Read more about why food testing is so vital for businesses here.
What are the most common critical control points?
A critical control point is any stage where a hazard can be eliminated, reduced to safe levels, or prevented. Examples could be during cooking, while food is cooling, or when you package it.
A hazard analysis usually consists of three parts:
- Chemical risks: Is there a risk posed by any of the additives that you use in the products? What if two different chemicals used to preserve food neutralize each other? What if additives combine to create dangerous chemical compounds?
- Physical risks: Are there elements of the process that could pose a physical danger to consumers. For example, could chicken bones pose a choking hazard?
- Biological risks: What are the chances of bacteria growing while the food is cooling, for example.
HACCP compliance is not just important for consumers. It can also help businesses to improve their safety protocols. Another answer to the question, “What is HACCP?” could be that it’s a vital business tool.