What do you know about HACCP?
Did you know that over 250 diseases are contracted from mishandled food, either through improper cooking, poor personal hygiene or a lack of control processes in a food business or kitchen?
With numbers likes this, it’s not hard to realise the importance of being trained in the best practices for handling and preparing food within your catering business.
All catering businesses must by law be utilising a Food Safety Management System to limit the risk of the above numbers being realised. The most effective Food Safety Management system is HACCP (Hazard Analysis, Critical Control Points), which every caterer and food business should at least know the acronym by now.
So what is HACCP in it’s basic form?
The very first thing you will learn in HACCP training is to observe your surroundings and identify hazards that must be eliminated.
These can be anything from non-edible substances, mishandling of appliances, or even the presence of pests like rats or roaches.
Critical Control Points
The second step of your HACCP training will help you identify critical points where control may be applied to diminish potential hazards.
For example, keeping food delivery’s at appropriate temperatures is a critical point because it can be regulated to ensure minimum risk.
Critical Limits are the third step in HACCP training, which involves establishing a series of regulations that help avoid potential hazards and help everyone know the limits to work within.
Using our delivery temperature example again, this could mean establishing a minimum and maximum temperature for the storage of food.
Critical Control Point Monitoring
Another important step of HACCP training is monitoring your critical control points to ensure the established Critical limits are being managed, and that no hazard has flown under the radar.
For example, keeping a live monitor of the storage temperature is a great way to ensure the food is always kept at a safe level.
In order to apply the fifth principle of your HACCP training, you need to engage the hazard producing critical point and correct it.
For example, if you believe a particular piece of equipment to be infected in any way, the corrective action would be to sterilise it, thus avoiding the hazard.
Or, when cooking a chicken, the corrective action would be to ensure it is not raw, thus avoiding the hazard of salmonella infection.
Now that most hazards in your workspace have been identified and controlled, the next step in your HACCP training is to ensure they stay that way.
This involves the use of procedures and tests and other validation tools to ensure the established control measures are working properly like signage, separation, temperature monitoring and food sampling.
Now that you have a proper Food Safety Management System (HACCP) in place it’s time to record it for future use in HACCP training and other safety-related ends. This ensures pro-active steps are in place and serves as an early warning system.
There are many examples to be given about this, from the creation of databases to the display of step-by-step procedures, or the creation of forms. This doesn’t need to be high tech, as long as it is happening.
According to the World Health Organization, around 250 thousand people die of food poisoning related diseases.
These numbers only serve to show the importance of HACCP training and a robust process each food business needs. Combine this with continuous review of business processes and the provision of HACCP training and Food Hygiene training we can all operate safer.