Did you know that one in six Americans will get sick from foodborne illness each year? That’s a lot of people! So to reduce the chances of your business becoming one of them, you should create and implement a HACCP plan. But what is a HACCP plan, and how do you make one? Don’t worry; we’re here to help!
This article will discuss the importance of using a HACCP plan and why you should use one. We’ll also provide some helpful tips on creating and implementing your own HACCP plan.
What Does HACCP Stand For?
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP, is a food safety monitoring system used to identify and control biological, chemical, and physical hazards within the storage, transportation, use, preparation, and sale of perishable goods.
NASA first developed the HACCP system in the 1960s to ensure the safety of food for astronauts. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later adopted the HACCP system in the 1970s. Now, it’s a widely used food safety tool recognized by both national and international organizations.
What is a HACCP Plan?
A HACCP plan is a type of food safety measure used to help businesses identify and control food safety hazards. A HACCP plan aims to prevent foodborne illnesses by controlling hazards throughout the entire food production process.
The 4 Categories of Food Hazards
Before we discuss the steps of developing a HACCP plan, let’s first talk about food hazards – what are they exactly? A food hazard is any biological, chemical, or physical agent that has the potential to contaminate food and cause illness or injury.
Food hazards are introduced to the food supply at any time via harvesting, storage, formulation, preparation, packaging, labeling, and serving. There are four main categories of food hazards:
- Biological Hazards: this category refers to food contamination brought by harmful microorganisms (i.e., bacteria, viruses, parasites).
- Chemical Hazards: this category refers to contamination brought by the presence of chemical substances (i.e., cleaning products, pesticides, natural chemicals like mycotoxins).
- Physical Hazards: This category refers to food contamination brought by the presence of foreign objects or items that aren’t normally part of the food (i.e., glass, plastic, wood, metal fragments).
- Allergens: This category refers to contamination brought by the presence of food allergens (i.e., peanuts, milk, soybeans, eggs, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat).
Creating a HACCP Plan: 5 Steps to Get Started
An effective HACCP plan has a mixture of the right elements: the right team, the ideal vision, and the collective belief and discipline to carry out each step of the plan to guarantee optimum food safety.
To help you develop a HACCP plan, here are five steps that you can follow to get started on the right track:
Step 1: Build Your Dream Team
The first is to create a quality HACCP team to help you achieve success. Include individuals that have proven knowledge and expertise in their respective fields of work. Make sure you recruit at least one member that specializes in the following disciplines:
- Cleanliness and sanitation
- Food engineering
- General labor
- Machine operations
- Quality assurance
A complete HACCP team will grant you insight into all the important aspects of food safety for your operations. In turn, you can prepare the right preventive measures to manage potential food safety risks.
Step 2: Describe the Product
The second step is to create a product description and identify the product’s intended use to the consumers. This step will help you identify the intended use of the food product and any possible hazards that could be associated with it. A few key points to include in your product description are:
- The name and type of the food product
- Ingredients used in the food product
- The form of the food product (i.e., solid, semisolid, liquid)
- Packaging details
- Storage conditions
- Shelf life
Step 3: Review Products and Processes
Workers should always be aware about the details of their work (tasks and performance). However, the majority of workers tend to take this for granted. The reason is due to processes turning into habits through constant repetition. However, habits may persist even if they’re no longer efficient.
By reviewing products and processes, your HACCP team can determine whether or not the current food safety standards are still effective and relevant. Your team can make the necessary revisions and updates to ensure your business enforces food product safety through this process.
Step 4: Outline the Updated Processes
After applying the necessary changes to your food safety processes, you must document and outline the updated procedures for all workers to reference. Make sure these documents are easily accessible and located in common areas within the workplace.
You can either use a checklist method or create an entire workflow so that employees can follow and apply the recent changes. A flow diagram, for instance, is a great method to use. Its straightforward approach will help avoid any confusion regarding the order of processes and steps.
Step 5: Follow the 7 HACCP Principles
The final step will involve your team performing the seven principles of HACCP. They are as follows:
- Conduct a hazard analysis.
- Determine the critical control points (CCPs).
- Establish critical limits of CCPs.
- Set-up a monitoring system.
- Establish and instill corrective actions.
- Establish and instill verification procedures.
- Initiate documentation
Why Use DATAMYTE?
Creating and enforcing a HACCP plan involves creating a workflow dedicated to it. If you’re looking for a comprehensive software solution that can help you manage your HACCP plan, check out DATAMYTE and its Digital Clipboard.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software that helps you manage workflows like the HACCP plan. By automating your HACCP plan, you can ensure that your food safety procedures are followed correctly and consistently. Not to mention, it’ll free up time for your workers to focus on other tasks.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard offers the following core tools that will help you create and employ a HACCP plan:
- Workflow builder: Create custom workflows for your HACCP plan or other processes.
- Checklist builder: Create checklists for HACCP plan procedures or any other process.
- App Builder: Create a comprehensive app to help you manage HACCP plan workflows. Using the easy drag-and-drop features, you can create the ideal app that will provide the following features:
- Process management: Automate and manage HACCP plan processes with ease.
- Audit logs: Keep track of all changes made to the HACCP plan over time.
- Reporting: Generate reports on the performance of your HACCP plan.
With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can streamline your HACCP plan and eliminate potential risks. Try it out for yourself today!
By following this guide, you can develop an efficient and effective HACCP plan for your business. Make sure to keep all the points mentioned in mind to avoid any potential food safety risks in the future. And for the best experience in creating your HACCP Plan, always consider the DataMyte Digital Clipboard. Good luck!