Why does the HACCP concept exist?
The HACCP concept aims to identify potential hazards coming from the production process or the raw materials used. As a manufacturer, you want to control these to ensure the safety of your food. All sorts of things can go wrong during food processing that can compromise food safety. Therefore, companies that manufacture or process food need to have insight into the potential risks that can occur. These risks must be described in a food safety plan, which is part of the HACCP plan. All food processors are required by law to have a HACCP plan in place. HACCP falls under European legislation.
In short, HACCP is a preventive system that must be implemented by the companies themselves. By detecting the health risks in the preparation and processing procedures and then making them controllable, product safety is increased.
The content of HACCP
With the HACCP concept, a company checks the entire production process for possible hazards to food safety. For each product, all phases of the production process, from raw material to consumption, are systematically subjected to critical examination. The potential hazards are identified. It is then necessary to specify how the risks associated with these hazards are to be controlled.
HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
Hazard: A “hazard” is a danger that may be present in a product that may subsequently pose a threat to the health of the consumer. These include:
- Microbiological hazards: Bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites.
- Chemical hazards (pollutants): dioxins, heavy metals, pesticide residues, etc.
- Physical hazards: Glass, hard plastic, wood or metal parts, etc.
Analysis: The analysis stands for the investigation of the possible hazards. A risk assessment must be made. The risk is a combination of the probability that the hazard will occur and the severity of the health consequences if it does.
Critical Control Points: Critical control points (CCPs) are points in the process that, if not adequately controlled, can lead to illness or other public health consequences. Therefore, they must be kept under control to avoid compromise. Potential CCPs include cooking, refrigeration, and prevention of cross-contamination.
QCP and LCP
In addition to CCPs, quality control points (QCPs) and legal control points (LCPs) are also frequently mentioned.
Quality Control Points: Quality control points are steps in the production process that, if not properly controlled, can lead to poor or spoiled products. No direct threat to public health, but the possibility of customer complaints and even recalls.
Legal control points (legal requirements): legal requirements are those that are specified in the law and therefore must be controlled. This is similar to driving 50 km in a built-up area. These requirements do not have to lead to diseases or spoiled products, but if these legal requirements are not met, this will lead to problems with the Food Safety Authority and problems with audits.
To comply with the CCPs, QCPs and Legal Requirements (LCPs), the Quality Department has established procedures, instructions and registration forms. Failure to follow procedures can lead to illness or even worse. It can also lead to customers receiving spoiled products. Or lead to problems with the Food Safety Authority and the certifying body.
It is therefore important that all parties involved are aware of the HACCP concept and that it is properly documented.
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A HACCP plan
A company that produces, processes or distributes food must apply the HACCP concept. This is required by law. An important procedure within the framework is a HACCP plan. This is anchored in the commodity law. The HACCP plan is also called a food safety plan. The plan can be developed by the entrepreneur himself. This plan should be prepared according to certain guidelines. The plan focuses on hazard analysis and addresses critical control points.
The plan should include topics such as sanitation standards for food processing and storage. The plan should also include any requirements of the Commodities Act. These may be general requirements, such as wearing clean clothing and caring for hands.
The seven phases of the HACCP plan
The food safety plan consists of seven phases. The goal of these phases is to identify, evaluate, and monitor food safety hazards.
The individual phases of the HACCP plan:
- Recognize the dangers.
- Establishment of critical control points.
- Establishment of standards for critical control points.
- Design a control system to monitor the control points.
- Develop a procedure to eliminate non-conformances.
- Develop a method for documenting information and procedures.
- Develop review procedures.
The goal of the food safety plan is to ensure the safety of food. The health of the consumer is central to this process. The HACCP plan helps to ensure that visitors to a restaurant can eat there without worry. All seven phases have been developed for this purpose. Each step in the process is critical and must be handled with care.
The advantages of a HACCP plan
Working with a HACCP plan has a number of benefits. The risk of bacterial contamination is reduced and food safety is increased. If contamination does occur, in most cases you will not be held liable for the damage caused. The production process is also scrutinized. Inefficient processes often come to the fore. These processes can then be improved.
Do you still have questions about the HACCP concept?
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