HACCP system to analyze risks to ensure food safety

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) was introduced as a food safety system in the United States of America in the 1950s. It was originally developed to prevent food poisoning in astronauts during spaceflight. One can only imagine an astronaut in a sealed space suit suffering from illness and diarrhea! It was developed between NASA, the Pillsbury Dough Corporation, American scientists and the US military. It originated from the quality systems previously used for jet engines and later adapted for food safety purposes. Hazard analysis is used at every stage of the food process to ensure contamination. Since January 1, 2006, all food companies must have a food safety management system based on the seven HACCP principles. Most manufacturing facilities will use a complete system, but catering companies will use a process loosely based on this system. This can be achieved using the diary system.

A critical control point is a point in a process that is classified as the last line of defense, for example, cooking is a critical control point. If there is a malfunction in the system, corrective action must be taken which can include additional cooking, discarding or retrieval of food.

Control procedures are procedures required to eliminate or reduce a food safety hazard to an acceptable level, such as control procedures in a health and safety risk assessment. In fact, HACCP is a food safety risk assessment. Risks are identified, details of people who could be harmed are documented, additional control measures (CCPs) are introduced, the system is documented and all staff are informed and reviewed when changes occur in the key process.

Corrective action is taken when monitoring results at a critical control point indicate a loss of control, that is, a critical limit has been breached. Monitoring should be conducted at or as close to critical control points as possible. There should not be more than 6 ccps in any catering operation, or monitoring costs may rise significantly and it will be difficult to control the whole operation. Many companies have too many ccps, many of which are control points rather than critical control points, which are not critical to food safety.

A critical control point is a step in a process where control can be applied and is necessary to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.

A critical boundary is a controlled reference point that separates what is acceptable from what is not.

Objectives must be set to ensure corrective action is taken before a critical limit is breached and food is destroyed.

For more information about HACCP, including Level 3 Training contact us Food Safety.

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