Food safety and HACCP guidelines
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. HACCP is a food safety system that falls under European legislation. HACCP identifies risks to foodstuffs in accordance with the basic principles described in the Codex Alimentarius. In practice, HACCP means that every aspect of food production is critically examined. HACCP rules play a crucial role here. Inventorying potential hazards is a fundamental step according to the HACCP guidelines. Not only microbiological, chemical and physical hazards are considered, but allergenic risks are also thoroughly analyzed.
HACCP: hazards and risks
A hazard is a danger to the consumer that is present in the product, whereby a distinction is made between microbiological, chemical, physical and allergenic hazards.
Microbiological hazards include bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. A microbiological hazard can arise during or after the production process, due to, among other things, poor personal hygiene, an insufficiently cleaned process, too high storage temperatures or under pasteurization. A microbiological hazard can also be naturally present in a raw material.
Chemical hazards can arise from substances that occur naturally in food or contaminate the product during the production process. Substances such as pesticide residues, veterinary medicines, heavy metals and dioxins may be present in a raw material. The product can be contaminated by residues of cleaning and disinfectants. A chemical hazard also includes too high a concentration of additives.
Physical hazards arise when foreign materials are present in food. Consider different materials such as plastic, wood, stones, glass and metal. Due to their hardness or sharp edges, these materials can cause injuries such as cuts, perforation, damage to teeth or choking. For example, wear and tear of process parts can create a physical hazard during the production process.
For example, an allergenic hazard can arise because a protein is an allergen and causes an allergic reaction in some people. Just a trace of an allergen can be enough to cause anaphylactic shock. There are 14 allergens that can cause problems. It is best to use HACCP rules to ensure that no cross-pollination can take place between, for example, various production lines. Another option is to determine that there is no longer a risk of cross-pollination through cleaning and subsequent control checks.
When developing new processes or changes to existing processes, Uticon always takes the HACCP rules into account to minimize or eliminate risks.
The HACCP rules determine, among other things, the establishment of critical control points (CCPs), with the emphasis on controlling food safety risks. By following the HACCP rules, critical limits for CCPs can be established, with the parameters carefully monitored and documented.
- Make an inventory of all potential hazards of HACCP.
- Determine the critical control points (CCPs). These are points in the process that pose a risk to food safety. Consider what measures are needed to control the hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.
- Indicate the critical limits for each CCP.
- Determine how the CCPs are monitored.
- Record the corrective actions per CCP. Corrective actions are necessary to ensure safety when boundaries are violated.
- Establish the verification procedure. Verification includes all activities other than monitoring that ensure that the HACCP system works. Think of auditing documents, periodic measurements, analyses, assessment of personnel and a trend analysis.
- Document all procedures and records to demonstrate that hazards are controlled.
When developing new processes or changes to existing processes, Uticon always takes the HACCP rules into account to minimize or eliminate risks. If you would like to know more about what Uticon can do for you in the field of HACCP guidelines and food safety, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and support you in implementing effective HACCP rules in your food production process.