If you work in the food industry you probably have heard of "HACCP", which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It's a system that is put in place to minimize dangers, not only for the people within an organization, but for the people who that organization effects – such as the consumers that eat your food at the end of the line.
One of the many benefits of the HACCP system is that the procedures involved are proactive. In any food-based network, there are critical points present in the preparation and transportation of food that can lead to items becoming contaminated. HACCP puts measures in place to help companies fight back against these risks. For instance, rather than dealing with the problems of discarding contaminated beef, HACCP plans outline storage, preparation, and handling methods designed to ensure that the beef is not contaminated in the first place.
So, how do you create your own HACCP plan for maximum food safety? This is something that every company involved with food production or selling should be engaged in. We've put together a quick outline of how developing your own HACCP plan works - and what that plan needs to include.
The HACCP Seven Steps
The best way to ensure that your new plan covers all of the essential parts of HACCP - is to familiarize yourself with the seven steps of the strategy. Each part of your plan should reflect at least one of these steps:
- Hazard analysis
- Critical control points
- Established limits
- Critical control point management
- Corrective measures
- Verification procedures
- Record keeping
1. Hazard Analysis
The first part of any HACCP plan should involve you and your team coming together and brainstorming any potential hazards that could be associated with your preparation techniques and menu items. Thinking as a group, you should be able to point out and list the various risks associated with different procedures and food groups. Remember: some foods are more risk-prone than others -raw beef can be more hazardous than uncooked rice.
2. Critical Control Points
Next, think as a team about the points during the preparation and packing process wherein the food is most susceptible to contamination. These points will need to be identified if you're going to come up with a good strategy for fighting back against food-borne illnesses and disease. For example, if you're worried about the temperature of the food in your freezer rising too high, monitoring that temperature with a thermometer that updates readings to the cloud is a good way to stay abreast of your situation.
3. Establish Your Limits
After you have a good idea of the risks present in your business, set limits to ensure that you eliminate the threat of poisoning and contamination at each point most prone to hazard. For instance, a good example of established limits may be using a wireless temperature probe to check ground beef is cooked to a minimum of 160° Fahrenheit internally for fifteen seconds before it is served. This is a form of approved limits designed for killing harmful bacteria which may be present in ground beef.
4. Monitor Critical Control Points
Once you fully understand your critical control points and what you might need to do to manage them according to set limits, make sure that you monitor the procedures in place. Utilize the FreshTemp app to schedule tasks for specific parts of the day, for instance opening and closing duties, and keep track of who is completing the tasks and how. Each team member can access the app from their mobile device to allow them to contribute to the procedures while you monitor from anywhere.
5. Take Corrective Measures
If a failure in the existing system has been recognized, be sure that corrective actions are taken to ensure that customers do not become ill. For example, if the chicken you're cooking hasn't reached an internal temperature designed for killing off harmful bacteria internally (say it's 120° instead of the recommended 165° Fahrenheit), then the cook will need to spend more time on it in order to reach this point. FreshTemp automatically incorporates Corrective Actions into all tasks and temperatures collected through the app.
6. Verification Procedures
Just like any scientific process, the verification of your HACCP plan will be important. Verifying that your solution is working as it should be, and that your temperature and time devices are operating properly is critical to a successful plan. What's more, be sure to check with your local health department if you want to make sure your procedures for handling and preparation meet with appropriate guidelines.
7. Record Keeping
Finally, make sure that your plan clearly outlines the rules that team members must follow in regards to record keeping. This might include such things as time and temperature logs, flow charts, and uploading information to a cloud-based system from existing equipment throughout the kitchen.
FreshTemp is here to help your team establish it's HACCP plan and streamline its daily activities to ensure safety and efficiency. Reach out today to see how we can work together!