What is HACCP?
HACCP is a system used to identify hazards that may affect either livestock or humans and then monitor Critical Control Points throughout the process.
HACCP plans form the basis for each of the GFSI programs including SQF, BRC and FSSC 22000:2011. It is also the basis for both Freshcare and FeedSafe quality management systems.
If you are a grower or packing shed that has recently been asked by your customer to get HACCP certification or Freshcare certification, contact us to find out the simplest and quickest way to achieve this. Coles and Woolworths both require Freshcare as a minimum requirement of all growers.
There are 7 Principles of HACCP.
HACCP Principle 1: Perform a Hazard Analysis
It is important that you have a strong understanding of how your product behaves. Check back on previous complaints from your customers and consumers. It is important to understand the composition of the product, hurdle technology, water activity, requirements in the food safety code and look at different food microbiology tables.
HACCP Principle 2: Determine the critical control points of your process.
An key part of the HACCP principles are the Critical Control Points or CCPs. Critical Control Points are the non-negotiable stage gate or hurdle. Product that does not pass the specifications set for the critical control point are not released until they are reprocessed, reworked and can pass the requirements of the critical control point. If it is not possible to rework the product so that it passes the critical control point, then the product is dumped.
HACCP Principle 3: Establish Critical Limits
This is probably the most important HACCP principle. The Critical Control point states what attribute is being monitored. The critical limit is the exact specification of that attribute. In other words – the CCP is the hurdle and the critical limit is the height of the hurdle.
The critical limits need to be consistent with commercial specifications.They are a compromise between conservative limits and getting product out the door. To set good safe limits, you need to understand your process and your hazards.
HACCP Principle 4: Implement a Monitoring System of your Critical Control Points
Implement a system to monitor each of the Critical Control Points (CCP). It is imperative that the monitoring records are simple and easy to fill out. Monitoring records need to be filled out daily and regularly verified. Verification is a bit like check the checker. Verification is about ensuring that the monitoring is occurring – you are checking that the quality management system is being adhered to.
HACCP Principle 5: Determine corrective actions
Determine the corrective action required if monitoring shows a Critical Control Point (CCP) to not be in control. For example – if the x-ray detector finds a metallic object in a sealed product, how much stock will you hold? What will you do with that stock – can the stock be run through the X-ray detector again and then released?
HACCP Principle 6: Implement verification procedures
Implement procedures for verification to confirm that the HACCP plan is effective. The verification procedures need to be completed as part of a team member or team leader’s role – not as an extra special task. Where possible build the verification steps into their jobs.
HACCP Principle 7: Document procedures and records
Get it down on paper. Write up documentation regarding all procedures and records developed as part of the HACCP plan.
It is important that operators and production managers understand the key HACCP principles and most importantly the difference between a HACCP Control Point, a HACCP Critical Control Point and a Quality Control Point. Most importantly, your staff need to know where the CCPs are in your processes and what to do if a product does not pass the critical control point.