HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, can sound intimidating, especially to new employees. Make sure that your employees understand your HACCP plan so they know how important it is.
Here are some simple questions to ask about HACCP to discuss with your employees:
- Why do we have a HACCP plan?
The purpose of HACCP is to identify, evaluate, and control food safety hazards. HACCP is meant to find out what could go wrong at every step in the food process and account for it. Essentially, by following a HACCP plan, the food products will be safer for people to eat and foodborne illness outbreaks will be avoided.
- What is a Critical Control Point (CCP)?
A step or procedure in the food process where a food hazard can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to an acceptable level. This is the actual step or procedure in the process. For example, a common CCP is cooking to reduce bacteria in raw foods, like chicken or beef.
- What is a Critical Limit?
A measurable parameter that must be achieved to control a hazard. Each CCP needs to have a critical limit because this is the actual value that needs to be reached. A common critical limit is the internal temperature of food being cooked. For example, chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165°F for at least 15 seconds to control for bacteria.
- What is monitoring?
Ensuring that the critical limits are met. Monitoring is a very broad term, but commonly involves taking and recording temperatures. If a CCP is cooking and the critical limit is an internal temperature of 165°F, then monitoring would be using a calibrated thermometer to take the temperature until the critical limit is reached and recording the information in a log. This could also be true for cooling food too.
- Who has the responsibility for ensuring safe food?
Everyone! Having a HACCP plan does not control hazards. Following a HACCP plan does!
If you train your employees about your HACCP plan and the principles involved, they will be more likely to catch hazards they wouldn’t have noticed before. Remember that the sooner a problem is found, the less expensive it is to correct.
For more information and tips on HACCP plans, check out our online Food Manager Certification Training course at StateFoodSafety.com.