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Food Law says

You must have food safety procedures based upon the HACCP Principles.

First HACCP principle.

Identify Hazards

Hint

Map out your business operations simply in a flow chart/diagram or list.

Hazards are:

Physical, chemical or biological hazards.

Analyse, assess hazards

Assess which of the hazards you can control, MUST be controlled.

Mysterious HACCP

HACCP It is perceived by many food businesses to be a thing of dread.

It is mysterious, miss-spelled and misunderstood.

In fact, like tax not having to be taxing, HACCP does not need to be hassling.

This article is the start of a short series on HACCP principles, exploding the mysteries and explaining what they are about.

  1. First HACCP Principle - identify hazards - this article
  2. Second HACCP Principle - identify critical control points

Basic Food Safety

There are some basic food safety practices which all food businesses must adhere to. Common sense to most people, officially they are called pre-requisite requirements:

The law says you must have food safety procedures based upon the HACCP Principles.

These are listed on the HACCP page

First HACCP Principle

The first of the seven principles of HACCP is to:

Identify any hazards that must be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels

Hazard Identification - use a flow chart

A flow chart, diagram and/or list of the processes in your operation is a good tool to help you identify hazards that may affect your business. This is not a requirement of food law, but it makes identifying hazards easier if you can see each process you undertake.

Hazards can be of three types:

Physical Hazards

A physical hazard is a foreign body getting into the product, making it unsafe for the consumer.

Chemical hazards

Chemicals, if used or stored incorrectly, can cause a hazard.

Biological Hazards

Not washing powder directly, biological here means bacteria, moulds, fungi, yeasts ("it has gone off").

There is more detail about each of the hazard types in the Hazard Analysis Explained article and Advice Module on HACCP available to subscribers in the EHandbook.

Controlling hazards

Not all hazards can be controlled. The crucial thing with HACCP, is to identify:

  1. Hazards you can control
  2. Hazards that must be controlled, reduced or eliminated to ensure food is safe.

Analysis is defined in the dictionary as "tracing things to their source".

Think about each hazard you have identified, analyse the effects it might have and whether you can control it. From this, you must decide which hazards can and must be controlled. What customers do with your product after they have bought it you cannot control, your duty is to ensure, as far as you are able, that you deal with food and drink safely.

More about Hazard Analysis

Food Solutions Subscribers can log in to the Ehandbook and look at Hazard Analysis Explained, on the training/advice module page under HACCP Principles.
Hazard Analysis Explained expands on this article, giving useful suggestions on hazard identification, hazard analysis and assessing which identified hazards must be controlled.

Subscribers also have access to the HACCP Checklist which helps with HACCP review.

The next article will cover the "second principle of HACCP":

Identify the critical control points at the step or steps at which control is essential to prevent or eliminate a hazard or reduce it to acceptable levels.

To subscribe, contact john@food-solutions.org