Anyone who sells, processes or works with food needs to make sure they carry this out safely and hygienically – so what do you need to know about creating food safety HACCPs? Having a robust HACCP in place will not only keep you compliant, but potentially increase your food hygiene rating to 5 and therefore bringing more customers through your doors.
What does the law say?
There’s a particular regulation that applies here – Regulation (EC) 852/2004 Article 5, to be precise. This relates to HACCP and states “Food business operators shall put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures based on the HACCP principles.” And these regulations apply to all food businesses – whether you sell doughnuts from a van or you’re a Michelin star restaurant.
A quick HACCP overview
HACCP is a way of managing food safety, and as the regulations say, your safety management should be based on this.
Critical Control Points (CCPs)
HACCP relies on identifying hazards and Critical Control Points (CCPs), which are steps where control can be applied, and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard, or at least reduce it to an acceptable level. Determining these correctly is vital to making sure food safety is being managed properly.
The seven HACCP principles
There are seven core principles to HACCP, and each of these should be carried out when putting together your food safety procedures:
- Conducting a hazard analysis – looking at what you do in your business, what could go wrong and what risks there are to food safety
- Identifying any critical control points (CCPs) – or the areas you need to focus on to ensure risks are removed or mitigated
- Establishing critical limits
- Establish procedures to monitor the CCPs
- Deciding what action you should take if a CCP is not controlled
- Making sure your procedures are being followed and are working
- Keeping records to show your procedures are working
Remember – HACCP is not a safety management procedure in itself, it’s just a set of principles that your own procedures should be based on to ensure good hygiene practice. And, under the regulations, the person responsible for developing and maintaining the food safety procedures needs to have had the proper training.
What sorts of hazards might you find?
There are four categories of food hazard: microbiological, chemical and physical. Here’s a few things you might want to consider for each type.
- Could harmful bacteria be present in or on the food? (e.g. raw meat)
- Could food become contaminated?
- Could harmful bacteria grow to dangerous levels in the food?
- Could harmful bacteria survive a process designed to kill them e.g. cooking?
- Could toxic chemicals (e.g. cleaning chemicals) get into the food?
- Could dangerous items such as glass shards or pests get into the food?
- The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million), and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).
- Your HACCP plan needs to identify any potential allergen hazards that may occur at each step in your process. Effective control measures or allergen preventive controls will need to be documented to control this potential risk.
- Prevention of allergenic hazards includes preventing cross-contact and correct food labelling/dealing with allergy orders
When considering and introducing controls, here’s a few things to consider:
- They have to be effective
- The controls should either eliminate the hazard or reduce it to a safe level
- They should be practical
- They need to be applied in a realistic and sensible way
If any of your staff are responsible for the controls, they must be informed about them and the importance of them – and it’s best practice that all staff know about the controls in place.
A few possible controls you could implement are:
- Buying supplies from reputable suppliers only
- Proper stock rotation of food and ingredients
- Separating different types of food to avoid cross contamination
- Using food within date marks
- Cooking and reheating controls
- Food temperature holding controls during both display and storage
- Good staff hygiene
- Food hygiene training
- Effective cleaning routines
- Pest controls
You might not have direct control over all potential food hazards – for example, any suppliers you use might have different safety and hygiene methods and standards. To find out more about how to ensure food hygiene in your supply chain is up to scratch, check out our handy guide!
Monitoring your controls
The checks we make to assess whether a CCP is under control is known as monitoring. For example,
- daily fridge monitoring checks with a probe thermometer.
- Storage/delivery temperatures against a specific level
- Monitoring cooling times
- Monitoring pH
By law you have to document your system and keep records of the safety checks you carry out.
How can Food Alert help you?
With everything the hospitality industry has been through, the last thing you need is an unexpected hygiene breach. With Food Alert, you can stay on top of your HACCP without getting bogged down by paperwork.
Our Alert65 compliance software gives you the power to manage all your HACCP and monitoring in one digital place. Find out more about what Alert65 can do for you here.
With over 30 years of experience, there’s a reason we’re the hospitality industry’s partner of choice. Want to know more about Food Alert and how we can help you? Just give us a call on 020 7244 1900 to discover how we can become part of your team.