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What Is HACCP and Its 7 Principles?

What Is HACCP and Its 7 Principles?

The food production industry implements tight regulations to ensure the safety of what they produce. This is critical within this industry as safe practices are implemented to prevent the onset of illness from cross contamination. One practice which is approved and implemented by government agencies and trade organisations is HACCP. But what is HACCP and how can it affect your business within the food production industry? Continue reading for a full overview of the regulations and the 7 principles that the system includes.

What does HACCP stand for?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. It is a seven principle system which manages the health and safety of a mass food production environment. Although the system is not mandatory, it is highly recommended and can give business owners the peace of mind that their production meets the standards of the UK Food Safety Act (1990).

What are the 7 principles of HACCP regulations?

1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis

The purpose of a hazard analysis is to begin an assessment into what could potentially go wrong within the kitchen. These can include hazards to do with food handling, biological hazards to the storage of the food. Then, it is important to evaluate the likelihood and severity of each hazard in order to assess which must be addressed in a later plan.

A thorough analysis is essential to any HACCP kitchen compliant with the regulations, as it outlines all of the main hazards within the environment, giving you the best chance of avoiding cross contamination. 

2. Identify the Critical Control Points 

A critical control point, or a CCP, is a task that must be done in the interest of food safety. Companies should identify the critical control points when implementing the HACCP system to ensure that the correct controls are in place for managing food safety. Some examples of CCPs are food storage, cleaning and maintenance procedures and the delivery and receipt of food into the kitchen. 

By identifying CCPs within your kitchen, you are identifying what you need to control to keep food production safe and hygienic.

3. Establish Critical Limits 

The next part of the HACCP process is to establish the critical limits for each of the CCPs that you have determined from the guidance above. A critical limit is a maximum or minimum value or level at which a parameter can be measured to ensure safety. 

These include:

  • Temperature 
  • Time                            Chemical critical limits
  • Dried weight 
  • pH level
  • Salt content                           Physical critical limits 
  • Absence of allergens

4. Institute monitoring procedures

Now that you have established what you will be controlling, you need to decide how you will do this. It is important to figure out accurate methods of measuring if the CCP is being met. This is done through monitoring procedures. 

For example, if your CCP is the storage of raw chicken, your critical limit would be the minimum and maximum temperature of the refrigerator. For raw chicken, your refrigerator should be no more than 4℃ for safe storage. The monitoring procedure for this critical limit would be to ensure that regular checks for the temperature are being carried out. It is recommended that the temperature of refrigeration is checked at least once a day.

5. Establish corrective actions

Following on from your critical limits and monitoring procedures, the next step is to establish corrective actions. These corrective actions will be taken if and when a CCP exceeds its critical limit. 

This is to ensure that no harmful products find their way out of production; these corrective actions prevent a risk to consumer health. 

For example, if the storage system for our raw chicken exceeds its CCP of a temperature of above 4℃, the corrective action to be taken would be the disposal of the meat. From being stored in the incorrect conditions, extremely harmful bacteria can accumulate on the meat which poses a risk to public health.

6. Define verification procedures

The implementation of verification procedures allows the kitchen to assess the validity of the HACCP plan. You should be regularly checking and verifying the established steps within your process; this is to check that they are working correctly. Examples of this step include ensuring all machine maintenance  is being taken care of and keeping your records up to date.

7. Implement records

One of the most important parts of an effective HACCP plan is the keeping of records. These records should document the entire process. It provides evidence that you have complied with the safe requirements for food handling. In addition, the records are helpful for personal use also as they keep a track on what has been effectively, and what needs to be done going forward.

How can my business comply with HACCP regulations?

There are several cost effective ways to help ensure your kitchen’s compliance to HACCP regulations. 

Some of the most common examples include:

Implementing an HACCP colour coding system within the kitchen – this is a simple way to keep the different types of food products separate. Creeds Direct supplies a number of different colour coded products to help minimize cross contamination within the kitchen. From chopping boards to wash brushes, shop everything you need for a HACCP compliant kitchen here

Ensure regular checks on critical control limits – This is the main factor in keeping bacterial hazards at bay. 

Implement thorough training procedures for kitchen staff – Knowledge is power, which is why it is vital that staff are aware of all HACCP procedures at all times.