The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system is an internationally recognized plan designed to reduce the risk that individuals dealing with, preparing, and storing food have on the substances that consumers eat. A HACCP system requires companies and workers to recognize and control various hazards throughout specific points in the food distribution process, reducing the risk of food poisoning and foodborne illnesses within the general public.
Implementing a HACCP system means putting prerequisite programs and plans in place. The prerequisite programs are designed to control hazards and prevent contamination of the product - such as ensuring a hygienic environment and good manufacturing process. On the other hand, HACCP plans are prepared for each product or process, and are designed to identify the possible hazards that are present, and the controls that need to be put in place to eliminate those risks.
The main reason why any food-based organization should create a HACCP plan is simple - awareness of hazards and the readiness to correct risky procedures could improve the functioning of a business, and save the health, and lives of end consumers.
Why Use a HACCP Plan?
A HACCP plan gives food companies a chance to develop a cost-effective system for controlling food safety throughout their organization. It covers everything from selecting safe ingredients right through to maintaining careful processes for storage, production, and distribution to the final customer. The preventative approach in HACCP doesn't only improve food safety management, it makes a business more productive, and helps you to avoid poisoning your customer.
Reason #1: Saves Money (S)
Rather than forcing you to waste time on checking through food constantly and, waste money on throwing away contaminated objects that take away from your bottom line, a HACCP plan allows you to implement procedures that reduce the risk of food becoming contaminated in the first place. In other words, you end up with more safe food to serve your patrons.
Reason #2: Avoid Food Poisoning (A)
A HACCP plan encourages the placement of important limits throughout food preparation and storage procedures. For instance, it may involve the installation of temperature monitoring systems within your refrigerators and freezers that constantly ensure food is not allowed to drop into the "temperature danger zone." This reduces your chances of serving food that might have been exposed to dangerous temperatures that allowed for the reproduction or multiplication of harmful microbes.
Reason #3: Food Safety Standards Increase (F)
The more that businesses use HACCP, the more the safety standards within the food industry will improve and increase. Rather than food being wasted on a national scale, companies will have measures in place that allow them to produce safer, cleaner food for their patrons without a detrimental impact on their budget.
Reason #4: Ensures Lawfulness (E)
Having a HACCP plan in place also ensures that you remain compliant with the food safety and regulation requirements in your local area. In other words, you won't come into conflict with the law and risk having your business shut down due to unsafe practices.
Reason #5: Food Confidence (F)
If every company has a HACCP plan in place within an area, then the chances are that consumers will feel more comfortable and confident eating within that area. This means that the economy is allowed to grow as individuals spend more money on eating out, rather than feeling as though they're restricted to eating at home if they want to avoid unsafe food preparation.
Reason #6: Organized Processes (O)
When everyone within an organization has a plan to follow, the chances of something going wrong because of improper practices is minimized. A HACCP plan ensures that everyone knows their place, knows the limitations they need to consider, and understands the critical points in food storage and preparation that must be considered to avoid contamination.
Reason #7: Organized Business (O)
Not only are the processes and team members within a business more organized when a HACCP program is in place - but the business itself is more organized thanks to the use of record-keeping practices designed to help managers oversee every aspect of the company. The plan brings focus to everything from the temperature at which food is stored, to the time when it's laid out on the plate.
Reason #8: Due Diligence (D)
Finally, if your company can prove that you had a respected HACCP food safety solution in place, then the chances are that you'll be able to protect yourself better in court if someone chooses to accuse you of unsafe practices or food poisoning. In other words, your HACCP plan could be your ultimate line of defense from a legal perspective.