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Developing an effective HACCP plan to avoid food scares

There are bound to be a few pale faces about this Halloween, but as food manufacturers and processors you want to be sure that it’s the result of make-up and not any food you’ve produced! Having an effective HACCP plan (and sticking to it) should ensure that the potential for food poisoning caused by chemicals or microbes or physical contamination such as metal, insects, plastic etc. is kept under strict control.

At VWA we offer a variety of HACCP courses, from the basics to advanced levels, all tutored by industry professionals and incorporating real-life case studies.  What’s more, as a special incentive to avoid food scares this Halloween we’re taking 15% off all our Open courses (in Skipton) if booked this 31st October.

Find out more, about our HACCP Courses including course content, dates and rates

Book one of our popular HACCP courses today and you will gain the knowledge and confidence to write and manage your own HACCP plan. Contact Carole Dickason on 01756 700802 or email claire.lennon@vwa.co.uk for further details or to book.

  10 steps towards an effective HACCP plan

  1. Remember that HACCP is a structured method of preventing contamination by physical, microbiological or chemical means. It concerns food safety not food quality – don’t try to combine the two.
  2. You need to decide whether your HACCP plan will be process or product-based and produce a flow diagram detailing all steps in the process from raw materials to finished product. Don’t forget to include hazards involved in rework, water, ice, steam and packaging.
  3. Before embarking on HACCP you need to ensure that suitable prerequisite programmes are in place – i.e. pest control, waste control, cleaning, quality management systems, operator training, supplier safety assurance, preventative maintenance, good lab practice, calibration etc.
  4. Try to keep your HACCP plan as simple as possible – the simpler it is, the easier it is to understand and follow.
  5. Determine precisely what the control measures should be and establish critical limits i.e. those points at which a product goes from being safe to unsafe. What are your tolerances? How have they been defined?
  6. Make sure CCPs are monitored. You need to decide who will monitor what and when it should be done.
  7.  Develop corrective action procedures should deviation from the HACCP plan occur. This needs to take into consideration testing, rework, disposal and investigation of the root cause.
  8. Be sure that your HACCP plan is working by establishing verification procedures and keeping records/ documentation.
  9. Keep all HACCP plans up-to-date. Bear in mind that if product lines are changed or existing products are reformulated, then there is the potential for contamination.
  10. Limit control points to those that are genuinely critical. A process step is only a Critical Control Point if it is critical to product safety and it will not be controlled later on. E.g. if a product goes through several heating processes, but the final one is capable of killing all pathogens, then only the final heating stage needs to be considered a CCP.