legends on hygiene and HACCP

Herewith I want to share a short story about what is the HACCP in food industry, because I come across two persistent fairy tales .

  • Legend number one: there is one HACCP law: Not true: each company has its own rules, lead by the guidelines of the trade unions and machine manufacturers.
  • Legend number two: The building or design of the building is the critical control point: Not true: in whatever building you can make good and safe food!

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis of the Critical Control Points. That means that a food producer or a owner of a professional kitchen has to describe the critical points in his/her company to food safety, from the incoming raw materials (such as flour, sugar, butter) to the final product such as boxes with cakes or plates.

Common points in HACCP are controlling the temperature when storing products, good labeling of products, hygiene and good instructions to the employees how to process the materials, wash their hands, etc.  Mostly corporations or trade unions have guidelines to keep for member companies.

Designing a building you can at most support the hygienic rules of HACCP by using materials that are easy to clean or decontaminate, smooth detailing, separating clean and garbage streams in a functional way, sinks in the right places etc.

The company has to provide guidelines and training sessions for employees so they understand what they have to do to keep the food safe and clean.

specially for those who build: a short guideline:

  • Introduction

This summary is a brief introduction to HACCP for builders, architects and other designers of food linked spaces. It is important to realize HACCP is about food safety, prevent contamination and hygiene. As a matter of fact a building never can be a hazard for food. By designing a certain layout and details, and choose of materials, one can help to prevent possible risks.

HACCP and the scheduled process must be used for indentifying, assessing and controlling safety hazards and risks. Therefore HACCP study findings must be fully implemented and used, in conjunction with pre-requisites and the scheduled process. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.

The format of HACCP studies must be based on Codex Alimentarius. HACCP systems and guidelines for its application can be found at http://www.fao.org/docrep/W8088E/W8088E00.htm

In order to minimize confusion, precise descriptions from next terms:

A practice that is mandatory in all operations, including contract manufacture.

A recommended practice that may become mandatory for all operations in the future and that is compulsory in new investments.

Desirable, optional, preferred or best practice, not mandatory to be implemented.

Stop from happening, target zero occurrence.

AVOID(passive  or reactive)         
The meaning of ’Avoid’ is often ambiguous and therefore it is not an acceptable principle of risk management.

A (micro) biological, chemical or physical agent in, or condition of, food with the potential cause to an adverse health effect.

A function of the probability of an adverse health effect and the severity of that effect, consequential to hazard(s) in food.

A location, step or procedure in the supply chain, where study of a

conceptual line design, process design or plans and lay-outs indentifies the need for control and where there is a need for the hazard to be prevented, eliminated or reduced.

Many countries have a minimum, mandatory requirements covering the manufacture of low-acid, sterilized products (e.g. FDA regulations, 2.1 Part 11.3 CFR Title 21, Part 113 (14); The Council Directives in Europe; the UK Departement of Health).

  •  Builders guidline.

All personnel must cover or change from their ‘street’ clothes into clean protective clothing prior to entry into food processing areas. Maintenance personnel, contractors and visitors must adhere to the hygiene rules applicable to production personnel.

Critical steps (e.g. Critical Control Points (CCP) and pre-requisites) must be identified through a HACCP study and personnel responsible for each one must be trained, so that the HACCP plan is implemented. Also the suppliers must have HACCP based control systems in place.

Water used for cooling containers must be free of hazardous levels of micro-organisms while it can come in contact with product. It must receive a disinfection treatment; usually chlorination.

Storage of waste materials must be in such a way that cross-contamination as well as chemical, physical and microbiological contamination is prevented and the conditions must be in line with what is given in the specification or by the supplier. Prevent mix-up of processed and unprocessed packs. Use separation to minimize the chances of to cross-contamination by materials, operations, personnel and practices

Prevent damage to unfilled and filled packs, cross contamination and permit adequate maintenance, cleaning and, where necessary, disinfection of equipment and manufacturing areas

All floor drains must be trapped, kept clean and not situated directly below equipment handling open product or containers.

Use materials easy to maintain and clean

Attention to good hygienic design and construction, appropriate siting and layout, and the provision of adequate facilities us necessary for hazards to be effectively controlled.

The layout must ensure the safe movement of people, materials, packaging, product and equipment with minimum risks of damage or contamination. Equipment layout must ensure that services (e.g. steam, air or electricity) reach equipment within specifications and without interruption. Cross-flows of work in progress, final product, packaging materials and personnel should be minimized. A system (e.g. color coding or conspicuous labeling) should be in place to identify cleaning, or other portable, equipment dedicated for use in particular areas. The layout should have potential for extension and allow flexibility

There must be a dedicated (e.g. separated by distance or lines on the floor) area for the isolation of finished products that do not conform to specifications (e.g. have not met thermal processing or pack sealing requirements), or Regulatory requirements. Its layout must ensure such packs cannot be mixed with product ready for release.

Sufficient warehouse space must be available for quarantine and segregation of defective packs, products and materials. Storage and palletization or racking of materials and packs must prevent damage and respect the safe loading weights recommended by pack suppliers for finished products.




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