Written by: Stuart Steele
If you are involved in the food and beverage industry it is essential that you are fully aware of the HACCP standards and invest in an HACCP plan. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points; it is a scientific system developed to identify risks associated with food preparation, production, packaging and distribution in order to prevent any harm coming to the consumer. HACCP standards are internationally recognised and strictly adhered to within Europe and the US.
Foodborne Diseases and Food Poisoning
As a consumer, the thought of becoming infected by foodborne diseases and suffering from food poisoning is enough to ensure you never eat or drink a particular product ever again. As a professional in the food and beverage industry however, spreading foodborne disease has the potential to lead to your prosecution. In some cases the consumer is not as lucky as suffering only a mild case of food poisoning; in extreme circumstances people die from consuming unsafe food. Investing in a well thought out HACCP plan goes a long way to eliminating the spread of foodborne diseases.
South African Legislation
There are several codes of practice and regulations which address the handling of food and beverages. Above all; SANS 10049 (SABS 049: 2001), the hygienic handling of food for human consumption has been put into place to ensure the safety of food products. The effective use of a HACCP plan will cover these essential areas of South African legislation.
How Does an HACCP Plan Work?
An HACCP plan outlines the steps which need to be taken in order to ensure the production of safe food using the HACCP principles. The HACCP team will generate this file having assessed a particular process. By identifying any potential hazards and applying measures to control these hazards; the HACCP plan limits the risk of the production of unsafe food and spreading of foodborne disease. The HACCP plan will also provide an action plan in the event that something does go wrong.
The Benefits of Using an HACCP Plan
- It is easy to follow
- It prevents the production and distribution of unsafe food products
- It gives consumers peace of mind
- It can be used for any size business at any stage of production
- It is more effective than traditional inspection and it reduces the emphasis on end product testing.
- It compliments other quality management systems such as BS EN ISO 9000
When it comes to food safety; an HACCP plan is less of a want and more of a need. It is essential for any businesses involved in the food and beverage industry to ensure that at every turn their consumers are protected from foodborne disease and food poisoning – the HACCP system does just that.