HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points

El Analysis Hazards and Critical Control Points (HACCP o HACCP, for its acronym in English) is a systematic preventive process to ensure food safety,1Logically and objectively. It is applicable in food industry although it also applies in the pharmaceutical industrycosmetology and also in all kinds of industries that manufacture materials in contact with food. It identifies, evaluates and prevents all risks of product contamination at the level physicalchemical y biological throughout all processes, from production line, establishing preventive and corrective measures for its control aimed at ensuring safety.

En 1959 HACCP development began, with the Pillsbury company being the pioneers of the HACCP. NASA and laboratories of the United States Navy. The initial process consisted of a system called Modal analysis of failures and effects (AMFE), whose utility resides in the study of causes and the effects they produce.

HACCP was created with the objective of developing systems that provide a high level of guarantee on food safety and to replace control systems for quality of the time based on the study of the final product that did not provide much information on the extent of introducing corrections. At first its application was not very successful and the impetus given by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had no impact. In the  80 years institutions worldwide promoted its application. Among others the World Health Organization.

Principle 1 - Hazard Analysis

Applying this principle involves listing the steps in the process and identifying where significant hazards are likely to occur. The HACCP team will focus on hazards that can be prevented, eliminated, or controlled by the HACCP plan. A rationale for including or excluding the hazard is reported and possible control measures are identified.

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Principle 2 - Identify Critical Control Points (CCPs)

A critical control point (CCP) is a point, step, or procedure at which control can be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to acceptable levels. The HACCP team will use a CCP decision tree to help identify critical control points in the process. A critical control point can control more than one food safety hazard or, in some cases, more than one CCP is needed to control a single danger. The number of CCPs required depends on the processing steps and control necessary to ensure food safety.

Principle 3 - Establish critical limits

A critical limit (CL) is the maximum and / or minimum value to which it must control a biological, chemical or physical parameter in a CCP to prevent, eliminate, or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of a food safety hazard. The critical limit is usually a measure such as time, temperature, water activity (Aw), pH, weight, or some other measure that is based on scientific literature and / or regulatory standards.

Principle 4- Establish a CCP surveillance system

The HACCP team will describe the monitoring procedures for the critical limit measurement at each critical control point. Monitoring procedures should describe how the measurement will be taken, when the measurement is taken, who is responsible for the measurement, and how often the measurement is taken during production.

Principle 5 - Establish corrective actions for each of the established critical control points

Corrective actions are the procedures that are followed when a deviation from a critical limit occurs. The HACCP team will identify the steps that will be taken to prevent potentially hazardous foods from entering the food chain and the steps necessary to correct the process. This generally includes identifying the problems and the steps taken to ensure that the problem does not reoccur.

Principle 6 - Establish a verification system

Those activities, other than monitoring, that determine the validity of the HACCP plan and that the system is operating in accordance with the plan. The HACCP team can identify activities such as CCP auditing, record review, pre-shipment review, instrument calibration, and product testing as part of verification activities.

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Principle 7 - Create a documentation system

A key component of the HACCP plan is recording information that can be used to demonstrate that the food was produced safely. The records should also include information about the HACCP plan. The record should include information on the HACCP equipment, product description, flow charts, Insights of hazards, identified CCPs, critical limits, monitoring system, corrective actions, record keeping procedures, and verification procedures.

HACCP and systems quality

HACCP is not a system of management quality but a system of management food safety that must be defined as a premise for the implementation of a management of quality, as a mandatory legal requirement applicable to any food establishment necessary to obtain certification.

A system management of quality must value all the activities carried out in a company to produce a product in addition to complying with the legislation that applies to it, that is why when a food company wants to obtain a type certificate ISO 9001, must demonstrate that it complies with the legislation and that it has an HACCP in operation.

Although some certifying entities offer the possibility of certifying the self-control system (HACCP), their true aptitude will be determined by the Official Inspection Services either by the Ministry of Health or by the organisms that have the competition in each Autonomous Community.

We can differentiate different quality systems depending on their content and / or the companies to which it is addressed. On the one hand we have the family of ISO standards through which all company processes are analyzed in order to achieve continuous improvement in each of them, which is applicable in all types of companies, since it is a type of standard focused on improving processes management.

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Various systems can be differentiated, such as BRC o World Food Safety StandardIFS o ISO 22000, which are specific for food companies and whose structure includes, on the one hand, a series of specific hygienic requirements for facilities, handling, transport, etc. and on the other hand, includes guidelines for implementing a quality management system similar to that of the family. ISO 9001.

Within the quality system documentation, the HACCP can be considered in a single document that is part of the system or integrating the different aspects to be taken into account within the different procedures that will make up the quality management system.

In recent years, specific software-type tools are being developed for HACCP management, which help the user to make the Insights of hazards, determine critical points, manage the documentation associated with the prerequisites and the HACCP, ultimately facilitating the management of the quality system5.

HACCP is not alone

The HACCP application is not alone in a food processing facility. The plan should be based on other food safety programs. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) that are practiced in processing facilities will support the HACCP plan and address food safety and quality issues that are not critical to reducing food safety risks. Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) are required in federally inspected meat and poultry operations and address the procedures for clean facilities, equipment and personnel that are necessary for all products produced in a facility.

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