Everything you need to know about the Law and HACCP

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is an assessment plan for food safety and risks. It was developed back in the 1960s by food safety specialists and NASA. It outlines 7 principles in food safety namely:

  • Critical Control Points
  • Hazard Analysis
  • Corrective Action
  • Critical Limits
  • Procedures
  • Critical Control Monitoring
  • Record Keeping

It can be applied to every process in each stage of the food supply chain, including preparation, production, packaging and distribution.

When Should HACCP Be Reviewed and What Are the Consequences of Not Reviewing In Time

A HACCP plan is supposed to be reviewed :

  • At least annually
  • Every time the manufacturing process or products are altered
  • Whenever formulation is altered
  • Whenever new sources or raw materials are used
  • Anytime new equipment gets installed
  • Whenever shifts or personnel change
  • Whenever there is a change in distribution and storage

Failing to keep the HACCP plan updated might lead to the production of unsafe food, which could be a hazard. The maximum penalty for failing to keep your food safety standards is a 2-year sentence.

When Should the Prerequisites of HACCP Be Put Into Place?

For safe food products to be produced there is a need for a strong foundation of the prerequisite programs. Every food industry is supposed to give the conditions that are important in helping protect food while it is under their control. Traditionally, this has been accomplished by applying cGMPs. These practices and conditions are considered the prerequisite to developing and implementing effective HACCP plans.

These prerequisite programs offer the basic operating and environmental conditions necessary for the production of wholesome and safe food. Most of these practices and conditions are issued by government guidelines and regulations. Complying with prerequisites is sometimes all that is needed for a food business to finally meet its HACCP requirement.

What is the First Step to Developing a HACCP Plan?

The first step involves coming up with a HACCP team that is made up of people with specific expertise and knowledge about the product and process. The team is then tasked with developing the HACCP plan. This team is supposed to have people from areas like engineering, sanitation, quality assurance, production and food microbiology.

It should also have local personnel involved in the operation since they are well-versed the limitations and variability of the operation. Also, this nurtures a feeling of ownership among those who implement the plan. In some cases, the team might require to be assisted by outside experts who are aware of potential chemical, biological and physical hazards that might be associated with the process and product itself. However, if the plan is entirely developed by outsiders, it might turn out incomplete, erroneous and lack any support at the local level.

What is the Difference Between HACCP and ISO 22000?

Apart from HACCP being a food safety system and ISO 22000 is a food safety management system, there are differences between the two. ISO 22000 deals with improvement and analysis as per the monitoring outcome of oPRPs and the HACCP plan.

HACCP makes use of a traditional concept where it divides control measures into 2 groups. In ISO 22000 the concepts get reorganised in a logical order by including some control measures known as operational prerequisite programs (oPRPs).

How Long Should HACCP Records Be Kept?

As per the principle 7 of HACCP, accurate records should be kept for every stage of the safety system. Some of the records should be kept longer while others shouldn’t. However, all this depends on what the business owner think is the appropriate time for the business. Essentially, there is no specific time frame stipulating how long the records must be kept.

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