One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment has looked at restaurant cleaning and safety measures several times on the blog before, but never specifically from a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) perspective. HAACP was developed for use by NASA to ensure astronauts’ food was safe. It’s a proactive and scientific approach to looking for potential food safety hazards and figuring out ways to eradicate them before they start.
There are seven steps to all HACCP plans, no matter the restaurant…
The first is to perform a hazard analysis. This essential step identifies all of the potential hazards for all of your menu items and food preparation processes. The hazard levels for foods vary – raw chicken is more hazardous than raw bananas, for example. Promoting employee knowledge of hazard levels is more important than I can express on one Internet.
The second step is to identify critical control points (CCP). A CCP is the time when a food is most susceptible to contamination and must be handled with the utmost care. For instance, ground beef is most susceptible while cooking. Therefore, cooking is ground beef’s CCP.
Once you’ve identified the CCPs, the third step is to establish critical limits for each CCP. We’re throwing around the word “critical” a lot here, but it’s the difference between a satisfied patron and a terribly sick one throwing a lawsuit at you. A critical limit is the value that must be reached in order to erase the threat of food poisoning at a CCP.
The fourth step is to monitor the CCPs to make sure critical limits have been met. Establish monitoring procedures that are simple to follow. Assign monitoring procedures to employees.
The fifth step is to clean up any CCPs that aren’t met. Corrective actions need be taken ASAP to avoid further contamination.
The sixth step is the establish system verification procedures. This should be done in collaboration with your local health department. They can help you verify that your HACCP plan is actually working in all aspects including handling of food, cooking, and storage.
The seventh and final step is to established recordkeeping procedures. These procedures should include flow charts, time and temperature logs and checklists that employees can easily record on. When it comes time to get a health inspection, an inspector will ask to see your HACCP records, so keep up with it!
HACCP plans are required by federal law to be in place for seafood, juice, meat, and poultry processing facilities. Many states require restaurants to also implement HACCP plans, so check with your local health department.
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