Where do I start?
You will need a number of key knowledgeable people from your business to form a HACCP team with us at Hygiene Excellence.
Using a flow chart would be a good place to begin.
The flow chart may include some or all of the following stages (there may be other stages relevant to your business that are not mentioned here):
Consider what hazards could occur at each step and what degree of risk is involved.
A key question is: Is there a high risk of this hazard occurring?
When food is prepared in your premises, there are a number of risks that may lead to contamination of the food. However, the critical risks are the most important i.e. it is critical if lack of control is likely to cause a health risk when the food is eventually consumed.
The cooking stage could be a critical control point, for example. If the food is not properly cooked then any bacteria that may be present may not be killed. This can be hazardous to your customer because there is a risk that this food will cause food poisoning.
Controls must then be set for each critical point. A control will either reduce a hazard to an acceptable level or get rid of the hazard completely. An example of a control during the cooking stage is setting a target of a minimum core temperature of the food to be reached for a minimum length of time, e.g. chicken must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 75°C for at least two minutes. A probe thermometer can be used for this purpose.
Other stages after cooking may also present hazards to the food e.g. incorrect storage temperature is a hazard that can be controlled by keeping the food either above 63°C or below 5°C and monitored by a temperature gauge and/or probes.
By analysing the stages above in this manner, you should be able to decide on the critical stages and the method of controlling any hazard that can occur.
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