The food industry can never run without food safety practices. As such, constant improvement of methods on how to implement comprehensive and essential management systems is always a never-ending topic for food safety experts. Perhaps one of the most basic yet most useful management systems is the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program.
HACCP was built to address food safety hazards even before they occur by identifying and analyzing them and assigning operations to control or eliminate these hazards. A lot has changed over the years regarding the implementation and focus of HACCP.
The benefits of HACCP and similar risk-based preventive systems have undeniably reduced the occurrences of foodborne illness in the world. Despite this, studies have shown that the lack of expertise and formal training in some food businesses has led to the inefficient implementation of the program. Luckily, recent innovative trends in this area have started to rise.
Tips for Establishing a HACCP Plan
Follow these tips if you want your HACCP plan to yield the desired result
Know the Basics
Both in making and implementing a HACCP system, all food employees in a business must be acquainted with the basic food safety practices. Prerequisite programs (PRP) such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP) cover most of the important food safety practices. These programs are the foundation of every management system, including HACCP. This fact shows how knowing how to implement all PRPs would benefit every food business.
In addition to the orientation and proper observance of PRPs, food employees, particularly those involved in HACCP plan-making, must be well-versed with the preliminary tasks of making a HACCP plan. These preliminary tasks are important in completing and properly focusing the HACCP plan in the right direction. A clear and proper description of the product, operations, and target markets must be established.
Live by the HACCP Principles
One of the best practices in implementing a HACCP plan is to understand and perform the 7 principles of HACCP. These principles were laid out by the different food safety agencies all over the world as a guide to making a comprehensive HACCP plan. They dissect the plan into 7 different stages to ensure that all areas of the operation for each product are covered.
The HACCP principles consist of 7 major steps:
- Identify and analyze hazards.
- Determine critical control points (CCP).
- Establish critical limits.
- Establish monitoring procedures.
- Establish corrective actions.
- Establish verification procedures.
- Create a record-keeping and documentation system
Each principle must be well-executed to ensure that a HACCP plan can be implemented correctly. Additionally, team members must understand the importance of each principle. A successful HACCP management system can only be successfully implemented by a committed food safety team.
Regular Updates for the HACCP Plan
As part of the best practices in implementing HACCP, regularly revisiting the plan after a successful implementation must be done. Compliance does not stop after gaining certification that your HACCP plan has been fully implemented. Changes in operations, raw materials, suppliers, and other related sections can merit appropriate revisions in your plan.
For a very complex tool such as HACCP, continuous refining and updating would only lead to improvements. These steps include the verification and revision procedures after the pilot implementation of the plan. Additional information and innovations in the food management system will most probably create a significant impact on the dynamics of food safety in your establishment.
Additionally, food agencies regularly improve their laws and regulations pertaining to food safety. This means that any amendment to applicable food safety laws to your food business must be incorporated with your HACCP plan.
Use Digital Systems to Manage and Implement HACCP
To cope with the significantly high demand of consumers for safe and quality products, the food industry has implemented the use of artificial intelligence in making and implementing food safety management systems. In particular, innovators like FoodDocs have come up with a novel system of built-in HACCP plan builder software.
This system by FoodDocs automatically generates a comprehensive HACCP plan for any food business and is ready for implementation. The digital HACCP plan generated from this process is particularly fit for the users’ operations and is based on their answers to questions about their business.
Using artificial intelligence, this system easily covers and completes all preliminary tasks and 7 principles of HACCP in just 1 hour. Such innovations make compliance with HACCP requirements attainable and more efficient for everyone.
Implementing a HACCP plan, let alone its creation can be a tricky and very challenging task. Adhering to the best practices known to the food industry may have been the most effective way of achieving food safety and HACCP compliance until innovations such as that of FoodDoc’s changed the game. With trends such as a digital HACCP plan builder that automatically generates a complete and comprehensive plan, food businesses and consumers alike can rest easy that food safety is always observed and implemented.