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Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points

How to Improve Food Safety with HACCP

Hazard analysis & critical control points (HACCP), is a well recognised systematic approach to hazards that can affect the safety of the finished product. It focuses on hazards related to physical, chemical or biological nature that can affect finished products. As such, the hazard analysis & critical control points approach is widely used in food safety practices. The system is applicable to every phase in the food production chain including preparation, packaging, and distribution.

Origin

The hazard analysis and critical control points approach is said to have its origins in the military production processes of WWII. With no means to test firing mechanisms of the artillery produced, misfiring of shells became a problem. However, the approach application to food safety only surfaced in the sixties when NASA had to design foods and packaging thereof for space travel. Quality and safety became extremely important and an approach was adopted to ensure food safety. However, the approach is now also used in other industries such as pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries to ensure that health safety issues are properly addressed.

Benefits of HACCP Implementation

It provides the organisation with a cost-effective approach to food safety control. It is relevant at all stages of the food supply chain – from production right through to delivery. Whether the food is in storage, used in other food products, in distribution or delivered to the end-consumer every critical point is covered. The HACCP can be used alongside other management systems such as ISO 9001. Implementation helps the organisation to save money as wastage is reduced. It also helps avoid health conditions and injury to end users of the products. HACCP system implementation also helps the organisation to stay compliant with legislative requirements and it improves food safety. Important components of the approach are noted below.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Identification

Plans must be developed for the identification of safety hazards and preventative plans for controlling such hazards. These hazards can include anything from chemical to biological or physical hazards that can leave the finished product unsafe for human use. It is important to identify points in the procedure of manufacturing at which it will be possible to apply control to ensure safe finished products.

Critical Limits, Control Points, and Corrections

It is also necessary to set a critical limit at each of the identified control points for a maximum value allowed for in physical, chemical, or biological hazard presence for elimination of the hazard, or at least reduction thereof to a safe level. In addition, it is essential to set control monitoring procedures. This means that monitoring must be done at every listed critical control point with frequencies noted. Where necessary, actions should be taken to address deviations identified through the monitoring at the critical control points. It is necessary to establish what corrections must be made when critical limits are not met, to ensure that no product leaves the production or distribution line that could be hazardous to the end-user.

Procedures for Evaluation of the HACCP

An unchecked system leaves room for errors. Even one error can lead to injury. It is thus important to have validation in place to evaluate whether the system operates as intended. The plans for hazard analysis and critical control points must be recorded, and measurements for these must also be in place.

Record-Keeping

Procedures for maintaining records must form part of the hazard analysis and critical control points plan. The records must detail all aspects of the plan, including the monitoring, critical control points, the limit, corrective actions, verification, and validation, to meet legislative and HACCP standard requirements. The HACCP principles are covered by ISO 22000 FSMS 2005. It is also essential to meet the legislative requirements regarding food safety in South Africa. Training regarding HACCP is essential and this is where WWISE comes in. We offer a wide range of e-learning and classroom instruction courses related to food safety, HACCP, internal, and external auditing. We also offer expert consulting services related to HACCP implementation and maintenance. Part of our service offering entails external auditing of organisations to measure their HACCP plans.

Whether food hygiene training, safety officer training, or HACCP officer or internal auditor training is needed, your organisation can rely on our expertise and range of courses.