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What's HACCP? How You Can Prevent Food Poisoning

What's HACCP? How You Can Prevent Food Poisoning

HACCP is basically health and safety for meals so it does not make you sick and even kill you through meals poisoning, poor hygiene, sanitation or contamination. HACCP was devised by NASA (that's right.. NASA) and Pilsbury Corporation (USA's largest food manufacturer in the 60's) within the build up to the house race between the USA and the united states in the 50's - 60's. It was initially designed to ensure that the food the astronauts took into space was not contaminated with food poisoning bacteria, dangerous chemical compounds or some other physical agent which could be harmful to someone who eats it.

HACCP is now a legal requirement in all EU international locations, the USA and lots of different international locations worldwide. It's pushed by the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation into countries legislation. Basically if you are a food business and want to export meals to different nations you want a HACCP system in place. It is enforced by Environmental Health Officers in the UK and Health Inspectors elsewhere.

It is really very simple; to be able to have a HACCP Plan you could:

1. Have a HACCP Group (type of just like the Health and Safety Workforce) who will draw up the documentation.

2. The HACCP Workforce then draws up a Process Movement Diagram of the meals preparation or manufacturing process. E.g. Goods Inwards, Chilled Storage, Preparation, Packing, Finished Goods Storage, Temperature Managed Delivery.

3. You then take each of these process steps and try to determine things that would go improper (i.e. hazards). For instance, within the Chilled Storage step mentioned above, the fridge could break down and the temperature of the meals may improve and micro organism present can them multiply. This can be described as a hazard "Bacterial development (temperature not low sufficient)".

4. Then we describe the management measure for the hazard. Within the above instance, the management measure would be "Effectively working refrigerator."

5. What we do subsequent is resolve if the hazard is important to food safety or not, i.e. is it a Essential Management Point (CCP). There are a number of ways to do this but basically it all boils down to this fact. We need to ask ourselves 'If the control measure (in this case "Effectively Working Chilled Storage") were to NOT WORK, would somebody get sick or die because of it?' - If we answer yes to that query then this is a Crucial Control Point. That means we should establish Important Limits, a Monitoring Procedure and a Corrective Action. In our Chilled Storage example the reply to this question is often sure and due to this fact anything that involves refrigerated storage is normally a Critical Control Point.

6. Having recognized a CCP we have to put some numbers on the hazard to resolve what the 'known and safe' ranges or Vital Limits would be for that hazard. In our instance, we know that meals is safe (i.e. bacteria do not grow very fast) at 5oC so our Crucial Limits are 1-5oC or <5oC.

7. So now we know what to measure we'd like a Monitoring Procedure that outlines how to measure the critical restrict, how often to do it who is to do the measuring.

8. We'd like a Corrective Action in order that we have now a plan in place within the event that the Monitoring Procedure finds a Critical Restrict outside the acceptable range, i.e. >5oc in this example's case.

So there you have it, phew!! It's loads to absorb and that is why numerous food companies battle with it however HACCP is a logical approach to making sure meals safety; it is international, complete and a legal requirement in lots of countries.