What is HACCP and how to apply the 7 principles while monitoring the entire process? Modern HACCP is digital, we explain how you can get started.
HACCP and the Right to Safe Food
HACCP is the pre-eminent method of ensuring food safety, but it can also be demanding. Automating HACCP monitoring can save significant time and money.
“People have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption” is the opening sentence of the Codex Alimentarius code of practice for food hygiene, the basis for international food safety regulation. But looking at the number of food product recalls in recent times leads me to wonder is it actually a right?
Can I, as a consumer, trust that what I eat is unfailingly fit for consumption?
However, maybe the question isn’t actually about my right to safe food at all, but whether the food businesses feel duty-bound to enable that right for me.
HACCP monitoring is the preferred method for ensuring food safety, but do the companies perceive it as an aid in offering consumers the best and safest possible food? Or is it a hindrance that they would rather went away or at least took up as little effort as possible?
Because, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility.
If you’re not familiar with what HACCP stands for, the acronym comes from Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, which explains in a very short way what the concept is all about.
Basically, all food businesses that handle foodstuffs should perform a hazard analysis which would tell them where within their process something could conceivably make the food unfit for consumption. They should also recognize the critical control points where this risk could be eliminated or at least lowered to within acceptable limits. All critical control points should then be monitored to make sure the risk can not occur or becomes unlikely.
As with all other regulation meant to ensure human health, the monitoring and corrective actions must be recorded for the dual reasons of verifying compliance and for easier recalls should that be necessary.
Pride and Prerequisites
Looking at the above description, it’s not hard to see how a food business might see HACCP as an overly difficult and time-consuming exercise. Especially small businesses might have other, existing methods for ensuring food safety or feel that even while this might be a good way of accomplishing better results, it is quite difficult to use in practice.
And, of course, there will exist some companies that disregard all concerns of food safety – an exception rather than a rule, for which we consumers can be eternally grateful.
Mostly, though, there seems to be a sincere drive to produce safe, delicious and prime quality food. HACCP should then be an aid in realizing this, not a hurdle to be barely cleared.
The whole concept is actually mired in this: meeting the prerequisite demands, analyzing hazards, seeking out critical control points and monitoring them so there are no breached limits, recording all this down on paper…
If monitoring the control points takes up a significant portion of time every day, it is not really just a helpful instrument in food production, but a hindrance in truth. But only some of the blame can be laid on the concept itself – in fact it has more to do with the methods of realizing it.
Surely everyone wants to feel proud of a job done well, but, for food professionals, maybe scribbling notes on temperatures and hygiene is not exactly that, even if it is to ensure food safety.
The solution would be to make monitoring as easy as possible, so that the employee could still feel proud of doing their job, but also keep track of all HACCP tasks that it entails.
A Safer Piece of Cake
Fortunately, nothing could be simpler.
Sensire’s digital HACCP solution can make monitoring CCP’s and performing measuring tasks easier than ever before. It also streamlines documentation according to legal demands, so that the paper trail still exists but dispenses with the actual paper.
The driving idea behind the system is to enable food professionals to concentrate on their core tasks instead of drowning in records and forms.
As the solution includes a cloud platform for data management, a mobile app for HACCP tasks and versatile automatic monitoring devices, there is very little actual effort demanded from the user. The app even reminds the user of tasks when they need to be performed and provides corrective actions if limits are exceeded.
All task entries and corrective actions are recorded in the cloud through the app, so both the employee performing the tasks and the manager can be traced to specific tasks when needed.
Of course, the food business operator still needs to take care of the prerequisite food hygiene demands, the actual compilation of the HACCP plan and mapping the CCP’s.
But after that Sensire can make the feet-on-the-ground employee’s work a lot easier. And seeing how the majority of work in maintaining HACCP goes to the employees who actually handle the foodstuffs, then cutting down their reporting work can create huge savings in both time and money, not to mention what kind of value one places on safe food and decreased need for recalls.
Food for Thought
Ultimately, I know there is realistically no way of completely eliminating food safety hazards, because accidents are going to happen whatever you do.
However, decreasing the possibility of human error as much as we can is still a big step towards making food as safe and suitable as possible.
And making the whole system smoother and easier to execute will undoubtedly benefit the food industry, its employees and us consumers in the form of bigger profits, happier and less stressed staff for the industry and healthier populace in general.
Aside from the amount of preliminary work that goes into compiling a HACCP plan there really are very few downsides to monitoring food safety in this way. And all the more so when there are solutions for making the whole monitoring activity so much easier for the people who must actually perform the tasks.
Looking back at my initial question then, the answer would be that yes, access to safe food is indeed a right.
But more than that it is a privilege when you think about how much effort goes into making sure that I am entitled to that right.
Something to think about when next you bite into that slice of pizza, or whatever your favorite food happens to be.