HACCP Meaning: What You Need To Know

HACCP is an acronym that stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. It is a systematic approach to food safety that focuses on preventing contaminants from entering the food supply within food processing.

Understanding the HACCP system is very important for your food business as it will be the primary strategy for controlling food safety hazards and and ensuring your are not serving food unsafe for consumption to your guests.

Producing safe foods is your number one priority at all times in the food industry. Your food establishment cannot should always have food hygiene at the top of its priority list and implementing HACCP will be a huge help in.


The history of HACCP and how it used today

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP, is a system that was developed in the 1960s by the Pillsbury Company and the NASA Space Agency. The goal of HACCP was to create a food safety management system that could be used in the space program. However, the system proved to be so effective that it soon began to be adopted by food processors and retailers throughout the world.

Today, the HACCP system is considered to be the gold standard for food safety. The system is based on seven principles, which are designed to identify and control food safety hazards.

HACCP principles aim to identify a food safety hazard at each stage of the food production process, and then put in place controls to minimize the risk of contamination.

To do this, HACCP plans must be tailored to the specific needs of each food company. For example, a company that produces canned soup will have a different HACCP plan than a company that produces fresh fruits and vegetables.

However, all HACCP plans must follow certain key steps, such as conducting a hazard analysis, establishing critical control points, and monitoring and verifying compliance with the plan. By following these steps, companies can ensure that their products are safe to eat and meet all regulatory requirements.


What is the difference between HACCP and a Food Safety Management System?

A food safety management system is the specific set of procedures that your food business will carry out each and every day while managing food safety hazards. This comprehensive document should document the exact ways in which your team will manage everything from personal hygiene to pest control.

Read about food safety management systems.

Read about how chefs use Pilla to create a food safety management system in less than 10 minutes.

A HACCP plan on the other hand is a set of principles which will identify critical control points of food production processes (more explained below) to ensure that they are effectively controlled.

So your food safety management system, should be based on the seven HACCP principles below but will explain exactly how those principles will be met for your business.


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How does a HACCP system work?

A HACCP system is a preventative approach to food safety. The system is designed to identify potential hazards and put in place controls to minimize the risk of contamination. To do this, companies must follow certain key steps, such as conducting a hazard analysis, establishing critical control points, and monitoring and verifying compliance with the plan. By following these steps, companies can ensure that their products are safe to eat and meet all regulatory requirements.


1. Conduct a hazard analysis

The first step of the seven HACCP principles is twofold. The processes are (1) food safety hazard identification and (2) hazard evaluation.

A HACCP plan places a very important emphasis on correctly identifying hazards. If these risks go unidentified and unanalysed, it could lead to severe problems. The likelihood of illness caused by each hazard is assessed in order to determine if it needs to be included in the HACCP plan.

After you’ve identified the hazards, the next step is to evaluate them. This includes understanding how severe a hazard could be and how long it would take to make someone sick, as well as whether there’s a high chance consumers will be exposed to it. You’ll need accurate information about the product and what might contaminate it in order to properly assess each threat.Be aware that food safety hazards can take the shape of biological, physical, or chemical contamination.

2. Establish critical control points

There are certain steps during food processing that, if controlled, can ensure the safety of the product. These points are called critical control points. An example of physical hazards is controlling the temperature during cooking.

Because these steps manage the discovered risks and must always be checked if they are continually met, your business would view them as essential.

HACCP principles are extensive and need to be navigated with caution by qualified individuals. A process step is classified as a critical control point if not meeting the standards could result in dangerous food safety consequences.


3. Establish critical limits for each critical control point

Establishing critical limits for safe food production is a key objective and a huge contributor to the overall safety of food delivery. Thankfully, you do not have to establish these yourself. Dictated by scientific research and presented as numerical values, these criteria are the acceptable level for safe food production and must be met.

If you don’t meet these key food safety standards, your business could suffer major repercussions, including prosecution for serving unsafe food and penalties from regulatory bodies. This could lead to some serious health effects for those who consume the contaminated foods and fines and damage of reputation for your business.

Examples of critical limits in the hospitality include


4. Monitor and verify critical control points

The HACCP principle of comprehensive and precise monitoring is key for food service operations, as it provides the framework for how you will monitor the critical control point system we have talked about.

This monitoring system, exists to ensure that food is safe for consumption, and so it means businesses in the food industry must implement regular food safety checks. The Pilla app, build a digital food safety checklist for all users which is bespoke to your food business based on your food operations. If you do not use the Pilla app, then you will need to create your own record keeping procedures. These should be specific and relevant to your business, be simple to understand and secure to record. Various types of monitoring equipment is available online.

Read about food safety monitoring through checklists.

Read how staff use Pilla to carry out digital monitoring.


5. Take corrective action when a critical limit is not met

HACCP systems when properly implemented do a good job of preventing issues, however it cannot be expected to catch everything. There will be issues at times which mean that corrective action needs to be taken.

Critical limits are essential in HACCP food safety plans to keep from making non-compliant products. Their purpose is to reduce profit loss due to deviations and safeguard both the consumers and your restaurant from food safety problems. Going outside of critical limits may result in having to toss out all unsafe food items. This decision translates into a waste of money from the used raw materials, time, and manpower.

Not only is it important to take corrective action when needed, but documenting these actions and their results is just as key. This HACCP principle will assist in identifying any potential hazards or complaints that could happen later on.

For example, users of the Pilla app are able to quickly escalate issues to management from within the app. Staff members who notice issues, can take photographs of the issue and send immediately along with a comment by email from within the app. If you don’t use the app, you can use another system, but you must make sure that it is comprehensive enough to record the issue and to escalate it effectively.


6. Keep records of HACCP activities

HACCP principle six builds on the previous one by identifying the records you’ll need to document any issues that come up during processes. This includes your hazard analysis, control measures, HACCP plan with CCPs and critical limits, monitoring procedures and corrective actions, validation records, and other supportive materials.

Your documented food safety management is a large part of this step and should be a comprehensive document which outlines your whole approach to food safety. Your food safety management system is the specific ways in which your business will deliver food safely based on the HACCP principles.


7. Validate and review the HACCP plan regularly

This will ensure that you have the necessary tests and verification procedures in place to evaluate elements of the HACCP plan are being effective.

Verification – This ensures that you have the necessary evidence to show that your HACCP system is resulting in safe product.

Review – An examination of the HACCP plan must take place at scheduled intervals, or if there are any changes (e.g., equipment, layout, etc.)


Bonus tips for your HACCP approach

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