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Improve food safety with an 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, as well as the reasons why an HACCP plan checklist benefits your business. Make your job easier by using a digital HACCP template instead of paper forms

What Is a HACCP plan?


A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan identifies control points and potential hazards in the production, handling, and sales of perishable food items. HACCP plan templates are used to improve safety in businesses involved with food production or sale. HACCP plans help control biological, chemical, and physical hazards present in your environment and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

Table of contents


1. What should an HACCP plan checklist include?


1.1. Cool chain


1.2. Preparation/kitchen


1.3. Guest room


1.4. Toilets


1.5. Personnel training


2. What are the advantages of an HACCP plan?


2.1. No legal consequences


2.2. Cost reduction


2.3. Increased competitiveness


2.4. Improve reputation


3. What are the 7 HACCP principles?


4. What is a critical control point?


5. Who can benefit from an HACCP checklist?


6. What are the 6 steps of implementing an HACCP plan?


7. Is a HACCP plan legally required?


8. Why use a digital HACCP plan checklist?



What should an HACCP plan checklist include?


The first step in creating an HACCP checklist is to prepare an HACCP plan. This provides the basis for daily, weekly and monthly inspections. When drawing up an HACCP plan, consider:

  1. Which areas in the company must undergo an HACCP inspection?
  2. Which employees are affected by a HACCP inspection and who performs these inspections?
  3. Which foodstuffs have to undergo which HACCP test?
  4. How often do HACCP inspections need to be completed?
  5. What critical points (CCPs) in the HACCP checklist are to be observed?
  6. Which data do you need to prepare in your HACCP documentation?
  7. How will your HACCP checklist be used to correct any observed failings?

The specific areas that an HACCP plan checklist covers varies based on your business, but general areas to cover in a food business include:


Cool chain


Properly storing and cooling of food is essential to preserve hygiene conditions. Pay special attention to the critical points of temperature and storage conditions.


Preparation/kitchen


The kitchen is the biggest source of contamination for a food business. HACCP measures in the kitchen check whether cleaning standards are implemented and adhered to.


Guest room


Numerous parts of guest rooms or dining areas 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 a central aspect of customer and employee hygiene. There should be daily and weekly cleaning of the toilet areas, including washbasins and floors.


Personnel training


HACCP forms can only be filled out correctly if your employees know exactly what they’re looking for. You can use HACCP templates to check whether each employee has received training and whether follow-up training has taken place.



What are the advantages of an HACCP plan?



Complying with legal food hygiene requirements is vital to avoid fines, criminal proceedings, or similar consequences. Proactively documenting everything saves a lot of bureaucratic effort afterward.


2. Cost reduction


An HACCP plan saves you money in more ways than avoiding fines. The correct storage and processing of food makes it last longer and avoids waste.


3. Increased competitiveness


A HACCP certificate makes business partners and customers more confident in your business and helps you remain competitive with fellow businesses.


4. Improve reputation

An HACCP plan helps you run a clean business, which improves your reputation and brings in more customers.



What are the 7 HACCP principles?


To be HACCP certified, you need to comply with industry regulations. To do this, use an HACCP plan checklist that addresses these 7 HACCP principles:


  1. Risk analysis
    What dangers arise during the food production process?
  2. CCP’s
    Determine the critical control points on the basis of the analysis performed.
  3. Limit values
    Define values for your CCPs that are safe and keep food from exceeding or dropping below those values.
  4. Monitoring system
    Create a monitoring system that helps you to manage compliance with defined limit values.
  5. Correction
    Decide how you will correct any deviations or unsafe conditions you observe.
  6. Documentation
    Document the details of your HACCP operational plan, and outline the execution of each step.
  7. Control
    You should check your HACCP plan using random sample tests or similar.


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 prevent food contamination. One example is storing perishable food, such as meat, at a temperature between 32°F and 40°F.


Critical control points are steps taken during food handling which ensure food safety. When compiling critical control points, it’s important to understand the four main categories of food hazard.


What are the four types of food safety hazards?


  1. Biological
    Biological hazards are any pathological agent causing disease. The most common foodborne illnesses include, but are not limited to, E Coli, salmonella, and norovirus. These diseases usually result from undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, or cross-contamination. Almost any food can cause food poisoning, so make sure to keep temperatures at their recommended levels.
  2. Chemical
    Dangerous chemicals your food can be exposed to include pesticides, preservatives, cleaning agents, packing material substances, or even drugs or medicines used on animals while they were alive.
  3. Physical
    These hazards are any physical or non-edible object that contaminates food. It could be anything from hair and dirt to plastic and metal debris. Foreign objects can enter food during production, preparation, cooking, or serving.
  4. Allergenic
    Any food that people could potentially be allergic to should 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. You need to be exceedingly careful about cross-contamination, and label all foods with a list of ingredients that clearly marks potential allergens.


Who can benefit from an HACCP checklist?


Every business that processes or sells food has an obligation to enact an HACCP plan. In addition, food business operators must prove that they have an HACCP plan. Business owners are responsible for implementing HACCP processes.


Businesses that need an HACCP plan include:


  • Bakeries and butcher shops
  • Restaurants
  • Catering
  • Trade and transport of food produce


Couple seated in front of coffeeshop

What are the 6 steps of implementing an HACCP plan?


Once you have determined your requirements, you can start developing and implementing your HACCP plan. Create product-specific plans to address company-specific problems.


First, do these five steps:


  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 in sequence

A HACCP plan is usually based on an already existing hygiene concept and supplements it with additional controls. HACCP criteria apply to:


  • 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


Is a HACCP plan legally required?


Having an HACCP process has been mandatory since 2006, according to EU regulation (EC) No. 852/2004, and applies to businesses of any size. Businesses that fail to enact an HACCP plan can expect:


  • A 400-600 euro fine for hygiene violations that are not remedied after 24 hours
  • A 2-4 week deadline to address structural defects or lack of training
  • Fines and a possible shutdown for failure to submit documents
  • Up to 3 years imprisonment if harmful food is distributed


Why use a digital HACCP plan checklist?


Proper HACCP documentation helps managers and business owners keep track of food production and processing, while taking corrective actions if necessary. Digital HACCP forms make it easier to assess possible food safety risk factors and clear products for release. You could also consider using HACCP management software to ensure compliance and safety measures are met.


Digital HACCP applications such as Lumiform help to optimize workflows by replacing paper forms, spreadsheets, scanning, and faxing with paperlessreports. When completing an HACCP plan template, the mobile app helps you:


  • Carry out inspections on-site promptly and with ease, typically between 30 and 50% faster.
  • Optimize your HACCP checklists with a free checklist maker.
  • Perform more effective monitoring and risk analysis from your mobile device.
  • Eliminate human error through the intuitive user interface, no training required

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Cooks in a industrial kitchen working on the HACCP plan
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