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The Ins and Outs Of A HACCP Plan Checklist

Find out what hazard analysis and critical control points really are with a step-by-step guide to writing, drafting, and executing a HACCP plan complete with an example. Make your job easier by using a digital HACCP template instead of a tedious paper form.

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What Is a HACCP Plan?


A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan is used to identify critical control points and potential hazards in the production, handling, and sales of perishable food items. These forms are used to implement a HACCP concept in companies that specialize in food production or food trade. This enables biological, chemical, and physical hazards in the storage, transport, use, preparation, and sale of perishable goods to be identified and controlled. Digital checklists help employees to monitor the processes more easily and fully implement the required documentation. The data from the food plan template not only uncovers deficiencies at an early stage but also proves consistent compliance with the industry regulations.


To remain compliant, you must keep records of your HACCP plan, their food production processes, and, above all, the monitoring of critical control points (CCPs) and corrective measures. Because each food and each processing method poses different risks, a specific plan is required for each food group and each processing system. It is important to have food safety management procedures appropriate to your business, so that you may manage and control food hazards. A hazard analysis is the international binding of quality management systems and food safety.



This article covers the following topics:


1. Why use a HACCP plan?


2. Who uses a HACCP plan?


3. What are the 7 HACCP principles?


4. Steps to creating a HACCP checklist


5. What to include in a HACCP checklist


6. 6 Steps of implementing the HACCP principle


7. HACCP plan example


8. Crticial control points and the categories of food safety hazards


9. The top 4 advantages of a HACCP plan


10. Is a HACCP plan legally required?


11. A digital solution for HACCP checklists


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Why Use a HACCP Plan?


The HACCP (= Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) Plan is a hazard analysis and evaluation of critical control points in the food sector. During the production and handling of food (for example in the catering sector or food production) clearly structured and strict controls and preventive measures are intended to guarantee the quality and safety of food. To do so, you must keep records of your HACCP plan, their food production processes, and, above all, the monitoring of critical control points (CCPs) and corrective measures.


A specific HACCP plan checklists are required for each food and for each processing system used by a food business because each food and each processing method poses different risks and requires different risk management practices. It is important to have food safety management procedures appropriate to your business, to manage and control food hazards. HACCP is the internationally binding quality management system for food that is suitable for this purpose.



What Are the 7 HACCP Principles?


HACCP certification is guaranteed by compliance with regulations. For this purpose, food production processes must be fully documented. An HACCP plan follows the following seven principles:


1. Risk analysis

What are the dangers during the whole process' of food production ?


2. CCP's

Determine the Critical Control Points on the basis of the analysis performed


3. Limit values

Regarding the CCP's, you should define limits from which you should not deviate.


4. Monitoring system

Create a monitoring system that helps you to manage the compliance with the limit values.


5. Correction

Determine what measures must be taken in case of non-compliance.


6. Documentation

Document on the basis of your HACCP operational plan, the execution of the production steps. Checklists, diagrams and other control forms are particularly useful for this purpose.


7. Control

The HACCP plan, which is itself a form of control, should be regularly checked by further (external) random sample tests or similar.



Who Uses a HACCP Plan?


The obligation to establish HACCP procedures applies to everyone who processes food or places food on the market. In addition, food business operators must prove the HACCP plan by documentation. The responsibility for implementing a HACCP plan lies with the owner.


The following companies are obliged to use a HACCP plan:


  • Bakeries and butcher shops
  • Food industry
  • Catering
  • Trade and transport of food produce


What Is Important When Drawing up a HACCP Checklist


The first step before one or more HACCP checklists are drawn up is always the preparation of a HACCP concept or plan. This provides the basis for the subsequent daily, weekly and monthly inspections. For the preparation of a HACCP template, the information from the following areas is of particular importance:

  1. Which areas in the company must undergo an HACCP inspection?
  2. Which employees are affected by a HACCP inspection and who must carry it out?
  3. Which foodstuffs under which intended use have to undergo which HACCP test?
  4. How often does a HACCP inspection need to be carried out and in which areas?
  5. What critical points (CCPs) in the HACCP checklist are to be observed?
  6. To what extent does the data collected from the HACCP checklists need to be prepared for the HACCP documentation?
  7. How should the HACCP plan template be used to respond to any shortcomings identified?


What Criteira Must Be Covered by a HACCP Checklist?


Most companies in the food industry have several HACCP forms in use. This is due to the fact that often different areas of the workplace have to be checked under different criteria. For example, different data has to be recorded for the cold chain than for kitchen cleaning - and usually by different people who are responsible for these areas.


How many HACCP checklists are in use, however, often also depends on the size of the company. The following example entails items a HACCP checklist for the catering trade should cover:


Cool chain


The correct storage and cooling of food are essential for ideal hygiene conditions in the company. For a HACCP template in this area, special attention should be paid to the critical points of temperature and storage conditions.


Preparation/kitchen


The kitchen is the biggest source of contamination in the catering industry due to a lack of hygiene. This HACCP template checks whether the cleaning standards are implemented and adhered to in order to prevent dangers to the customer.


Guest room


In addition, there are numerous areas in the guest room that can lead to burning food if they are not well cared for. This HACCP template, therefore, deals with the state of cleaning objects in the guest room.


Toilets


Clean toilets are not only part of good manners, they are also indispensable for ideal hygienic conditions. This HACCP template, therefore, checks the daily and weekly cleaning of the toilet areas, which includes washbasins, floors, etc.


Personnel training


Often this aspect takes a back seat to the HACCP concept. HACCP forms can only be filled out correctly and conscientiously if the employees know exactly what they have to pay attention to in food and personal hygiene. This HACCP template is therefore used to check whether each employee has received training and whether follow-up training has taken place.



What Are the 6 Steps of Implementing the HACCP Principle?


Once you have prepared a complete list of prerequisites, you can start developing and implementing your HACCP plan. This form looks different in every company, so you will create product-specific plans that address your company's specific problems.


There are five tasks you must complete before a plan can be established:


  1. Assemble your HACCP team
  2. Describe your food products and distribution methods
  3. Describe the intended use/consumer of your product
  4. Create a flow chart to describe the process
  5. Verify the flow chart
  6. Work through HACCP principles 1-6 step by step

A HACCP plan is usually based on an already existing hygiene concept and supplements this with detailed planning and control of the food production. The following aspects are subject to HACCP requirements for hygiene:


  • Spatial and technical equipment
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Pest control
  • Separation of production lines and work processes
  • Temperature and humidity in work and storage rooms


What Is an Example of a HACCP Plan in Action?


There are so many rules and regulations surrounding food and safety, it can be difficult to keep them all straight. But it’s imperative to your business that you’re in compliance with each and every one of those regulations to avoid costly fines and lawsuits. For that reason, you’ll want to write up a HACCP plan that meets the individual news of your business to ensure proper safety precautions are in place and being adhered to.


For the intents and purposes of this example, the product we’ll be analyzing is ground beef with a focus on the proper set of steps and procedures once it arrives at a restaurant for preparations and sale.


Below, is the sample restaurant HACCP plan and its steps to help you get started:


Audit


General Information


Names and positions of the participants


Manager: John Smith
Inspector: Rebecca Jones.


Describe the process

  1. Beef is purchased from the butcher
  2. Beef is then stored in a refrigerator
  3. Beef is made into a hamburger
  4. Hamburger is sold to customer

Describe the product and intended usage


The product is ground beef for the purpose of cooking and selling. The beef will be made into hamburger patties, grilled, and served to customers in the restaurant.


Standard Operating Procedures at CPP’s


Add the critical control points to the following

  • Once the ground beef arrives at the restaurant, it must be put in a refrigerated area no longer than two hours after delivery. If outside temperatures reach 90°F, then it shall not be left out for more than an hour.
  • Uncooked ground beef will sit in the refrigerator for no more than three days.
  • Cooked beef will be used within a three-day period if it is stored in a refrigerator that’s no warmer than 40°F.
  • Hamburger meat will be cooked to a temperature of 160°F and be served within a two-hour period.

Monitoring


Person in charge of monitoring


Rebecca Jones


How will you control the process at this step to assure that the process is under control?


Rebecca Jones will oversee each delivery of ground beef and will use a checklist to make sure each step is completed in full.


Frequency of monitoring

  • Rebecca Jones will check that the refrigerator’s temperature is between 32°F and 40°F every day to ensure that beef remains uncontaminated.
  • Temperature of meat will be checked with a hand-held thermometer before it’s taken off the stove.
  • Meat will be labeled with its arrival date and checked at the beginning of each shift and prior to cooking to maintain that it has not exceeded its three-day storage limit
  • Cooked meat will be labeled with its cook date and checked at the beginning of each shift and prior to serving to maintain that it has not exceeded its three-day storage limit.

What equipment will be implemented?

  • Install a humidity and temperature monitoring system via Lumiform
  • Refrigerator thermometer
  • Hand-held thermometers
  • Stove

Describe the methods you will follow if a crucial limit is exceeded. Add both the actions you will take to get the process back under control and how you will manage any product that might be unsafe.

  • All meat will be disposed of after it has exceeded its three-day storage limit.
  • If fridge temperatures get too high, all meat will be disposed of
  • To ensure meat reaches minimum cooking temperature, each burger will be checked with a thermometer before serving. If it is not at minimum temperature, it will need to remain on the stove until reaches minimum cooking temperature.

Completion


Comments and Recomendations


In order to adhere to food industry safety regulations, I advise an additional employee be assigned to perform a secondary inspection at the end of each workday to ensure no expired meat product remains in the fridge. Installation of a second fridge for additional storage in case the first malfunctions is recommended.


Name and signature of the Inspector


Rebecca Smith


Couple in front of coffeeshop

What Is a Critical Control Point?


A critical control point is the step during the food production and preparation process where protective and preventive measures can be implemented to protect customers from consuming contaminated fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. An example of a critical control point would be storing perishable food such as meat at a temperature between 32°F and 40°F.


A critical control point just means any steps taken along the way to ensure food safety. In order to do this, it’s important to understand the four main categories of potential food hazards in order to make a critical control point list.


What are the Four Types of Food Safety Hazards?


  1. Biological
    Biological hazards consist of any pathological agent causing disease. The most common foodborne illnesses include, but are not limited to, Ecoli, salmonella, norovirus, etc. These diseases are usually the result of undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs or cross-contamination. Almost any food can cause food poisoning, so it’s imperative to keep an eye on expiration dates, minimum cooking temperatures, and proper storage temperatures of perishable food items.
  2. Chemical
    Food can be exposed to chemicals at any point in its journey from production to consumption. These dangers include pesticides, preservatives, cleaning agents, packing material substances, or even drugs or medicines used on animals prior to slaughter.
  3. Physical
    This category encompasses any physical or non-edible object that contaminates food. For example, this could be anything from hair and dirt to plastic and metal debris. Foreign objects can enter food during production, preparation, cooking, or serving. Common examples of this are Teflon from pots and pans entering the food while cooking or the improper removal of plastic wrappings or packaging.
  4. Allergenic
    Any food that people could potentially be allergic is to be included in a HACCP plan. The most common types of food allergies according to the FDA are milk, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, wheat, shellfish, and soybeans. This doesn’t mean restaurants and grocery stores can’t sell foods that contain allergens, but they need to be exceedingly careful about cross-contamination. That’s why all foods have to be labeled with a list of ingredients that clearly marks if it was made with or near any of these major allergens.


What Are the Advantages of a HACCP Plan?


After you have learned what the HACCP plan is based on and how it is implemented, the question arises why the use of HACCP is particularly worthwhile. Learn more about the main advantages of the concept here:


1. No legal consequences

The continued compliance with legal requirements for food hygiene is the most important prerequisite for a smooth operation without fines, criminal proceedings, or the like. Proactive implementation of documentation saves a lot of bureaucratic effort afterward.


2. Cost reduction

It is not only by avoiding fines that costs are prevented. The correct storage and processing of food makes it last longer so waste can be avoided.


3. Increased competitiveness

A HACCP certificate strengthens the confidence of partners and customers and helps you to remain competitive with businesses within the food industry..


4. Promote reputation

Maintaining your customer’s basis for trust also promotes the acquisition of new customers.



Is a HACCP Plan Legally Required?


The establishment of a HACCP process has been mandatory since 2006 according to EU regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 and also applies to small companies. In case of non-compliance you have to expect the following penalties:


  • 400-600 Euro for hygiene deficiencies that are not remedied after 24 hours
  • 2-4 weeks deadline for structural defects or lack of training
  • Fines and closure of the plant for failure to submit documents.
  • Imprisonment of up to 3 years, if food that is harmful to health is distributed.


Use a Digital App for Haccp Checklists


A good record is one of the 7 HACCP principles required to obtain HACCP certification. Proper HACCP documentation helps managers and business owners to keep track of the food production and processing while allowing them to take corrective actions where they are needed. Digital HACCP forms make it easier to prove that the possible risk factors of food safety are considered in all production processes. This ensures that the end products are safe and ready for the market. You could also consider using Lumiform's haccp management software to ensure compliance and safety measures are met.


Digital HACCP applications such as Lumiform help to improve tedious workflows by replacing paper forms, spreadsheets, scanning, and faxing with a digital report - online or offline. The mobile technology is used to improve the following when filling out a free HACCP plan template:

  • With this super intuitive mobile application, every test can be carried out on-site with ease and in a time-saving manner.
  • The flexible HACCP checklist toolkit allows internal checks and processes to be continuously optimised.
  • Each digital HACCP checklist is usually carried out about 30%-50% faster.
  • Teams will be able to perform better surveillance procedures and risk analysis using a smartphone or tablet.
  • The app’s easy user interface allows employees no room for error. Because Lumiform guides the inspector through the inspection, no training is required.


HACCP plan for commercial kitchens

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