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What Are the Principles of the HACCP Plan?

Food and Beverages | Friday, January 21, 2022

Food and beverage establishments are required to produce safe products for consumers.

FREMONT, CA: HACCP is a food safety management system used by food and beverage companies.

Because HACCP is a globally renowned management system, the standards are comparable worldwide. Thus, HACCP certification can help businesses grow their customer base. It also allows food and beverage companies to meet regulatory requirements and improve product quality and safety. It can also reduce costs and speed up the time to market in some cases.

A HACCP plan's overarching goal is to eliminate potential hazards, such as contaminants that are—microbiological, physical, and chemical

Proactively addressing these risks can improve public safety. According to the HACCP Alliance, microbiological hazards include the following:

  •  E. coli
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Clostridium botulinum

The HACCP Seven Principles

According to the FDA, a HACCP plan must include the following seven steps:

1. Conduct a risk assessment

To begin, food and beverage manufacturers must detail the detailed steps involved in their processes and identify areas prone to significant hazards. An effective HACCP plan can identify risks and eliminate them. The plan should also include a justification for including or excluding specific hazards from the HACCP program.

2. Identify Control Points of Criticality (CCPs)

Critical control points (CCPs) are locations, steps, or procedures where controls are implemented to prevent the occurrence of a particular food safety hazard. For instance, CCPs may include the following:

  • Cooking/cooling to a specific temperature
  • Packaging
  • detection of metals

3. Define Critical Boundaries

Critical limits (CLs) are the minimum or maximum values that must be controlled to eliminate or reduce a hazard. Typically, CLs are measured in terms of time, temperature, or weight. They may also include additional parameters defined by regulatory standards.

4. Establish Procedures for Monitoring

HACCP plans must include procedures for monitoring CLs at required CCPs. Additionally, the plan must include specifics about how the measurement will be conducted, such as who will record the data and when.

5. Initiate Corrective Action

When a deviation occurs in a CL, one must take corrective action to eliminate the variation and prevent it from happening again in the future. Disciplinary actions should identify the issue and its source and the corrective measures to avoid recurring problems. Immediate corrective actions address current issues, whereas preventive, disciplinary actions are designed to mitigate future risks. Immediate corrective action is discarding contaminated food, while the preventative measure is having a piece of equipment repaired.

6. Establish Procedures for Verification

To ensure that the HACCP plan is valid and effective, verification activities must be established. All examples are auditing steps. Still, they CCPs, conducting records reviews, finished testing measure preventive following products, and calibrating instruments as necessary.

7. Establish procedures for record-keeping and documentation

A HACCP plan's record-keeping is critical. Records must contain all pertinent information about the plan for easy reference by employees, but they must also prove that food is produced safely and following current regulations. Hazard analyses, CCPs, CLs, a monitoring system, corrective actions, record-keeping procedures, and verification activities should be included in the facility's HACCP records.

Each food and processing system requires its own HACCP plan, as each poses unique risks that must be addressed.

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