IS HACCP ONLY APPLICABLE TO PROFESSIONALS? PART 1
HACCP means, the Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points.
It is a system designed to improve manufacturing standards in food safety, hygiene and traceability. HACCP is a system of prevention and not meant to check on finished products. We can actually split the abbreviation HACCP into half.
Hazard Analysis means, to analyze what the hazards are, and Critical Control Points means, identifying where the hazards occur and take preventive measures to avoid future occurrences.
Practicing HACCP in food manufacturing
Practicing HACCP involves an extensive flow of paper work, starting at the very beginning of the manufacturing process until the product is ready for packing. HACCP is designed to detect shortcomings in the manufacturing process that may have been practiced without the knowledge of the manufacturer.
Practice is, every single step an ingredient goes through during manufacturing is recorded and must be accounted for. If during HACCP inspection by external inspectors the manufacturer fails to explain the absence of record of one of the steps, that step becomes a critical control point to be rectified.
Required steps to follow
An easier understanding is made with a practical example.
Let’s say you manufacture tomato sauce and you use canned tomatoes as an ingredient. You are not responsible for the manufacturing of the tomatoes but you are responsible for the purchases you make buying cans of tomatoes from a by you chosen trusted supplier. Your HACCP record must therefore show:
1. Brand and supplier of the tomatoes
2. Delivery date
3. The date when you used the tomatoes (if not the total delivery, then how much of it)
4. In which production batch you used the tomatoes and when (a batch number must show that)
5. What you made with the tomatoes (in this example tomato sauce)
6. Identification of packing (retail or direct end user e.g. restaurant)
7. Where the batch went to and when (your customer)
Every step of the procedure has a form and personnel responsible have to record the required information on the forms. every form has again a number of details that needs recording. From your storekeeper until customer service that received the order of purchase.
The whole objective is to make a product traceable with this paperwork and for an external auditor to be able, provided all parties involved follow the HACCP system, to actually quickly find the source of an unwanted occurrence.
This means that when a person becomes ill from eating a pizza in a restaurant with your tomato sauce on it, the source and when and how this happened can quickly be found to curb the possible recurrences of the mishap.
Many, often too many steps in the food supply chain are not traceable. HACCP makes food production safer and with that more people are getting a better understanding of good manufacturing practices.
In part two of this subject I have a look as to how we can apply HACCP in home cooking and the function of a vacuum sealer in the HACCP process.
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn