March 21, 2017

HACCP & Food Safety: Are You Required to Comply?

Written by SmartSense | Food Safety, HACCP


In 2016, Chipotle’s famous tagline, “Food with Integrity,” sounded more like famous last words—even after many years of success. That’s what happens when outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, and norovirus at your restaurant make front-page national headlines. Happily, the company has rebounded. Consumer and investor confidence is up—primarily because the CEO promised to implement a HACCP plan. Too bad the company’s sales sank 14% and its profits plummeted 44% without one. 

Chipotle learned the hard way. You don’t have to. 

HACCP: What is it?

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point was first developed by NASA and Pillsbury. Back then, it systematically and scientifically managed food safety for space missions. Today, HACCP is the guiding light for any food safety management system (FSMS). Food companies of all sizes use its guidelines to identify and minimize the risk of biological, chemical and physical hazards. 

The HACCP system strictly monitors each point of the food service process: from production, procurement, and handling to manufacture, distribution and consumption. If a deviation occurs, stringent controls take the appropriate steps to prevent hazardous products from reaching consumers.

Seems complicated? Let’s take a closer look. 

HACCP Certification: Is it mandatory?

Some restaurants must implement HACCP. Does your food service include any of the following components?

• Ingredients such as vinegar used as a preservative (e.g., sushi rice)
• Unpasteurized (i.e. whole shell) eggs 
• Reduced oxygen packaging (ROP) (e.g., sous vide)
• Custom-processed animals
• Shellfish served straight from a tank
• Smoked or cured meats
• Freshly squeezed juices

If so, you need a HACCP plan. Consult your local or state health department for additional foods that may need certification. 

HACCP Benefits: What’s in it for YOUR Company?

HACCP is the most recognized best practice of large-scale food service operations and restaurant chains. In fact, the FDA strongly recommends that all commercial kitchens voluntarily create their own HACCP plans, even if not required.

Why? Because a PROACTIVE approach to prevention is the most efficient solution. Otherwise you may have to resort to a more expensive REACTIVE compensation plan. Who wants that? 

HACCP can benefit your company by:

• Promoting uniform standards 
• Improving product quality
• Maintaining consistent operations
• Ensuring adherence to current science
• Increasing consumer confidence in your products

Most important, HACCP helps prevent illness and injury before they occur. It reduces your liability. You know how bad news spreads like wildfire on social media. Even one sick customer can spell lawsuits and financial ruin for your business. Mitigating that risk makes HACCP an insurance policy most large companies can’t afford to overlook. 

HACCP Implementation: What’s the process?

Every food service operation is different and has unique requirements. That means you need to customize a plan to meet your particular needs. For more details about implementation, STAY TUNED for our upcoming posts. We take a closer look at HACCP’s Seven Basic Principles as well as a HACCP Flow Chart.

Save money. Save time. Save lives. That’s the goal of HACCP.

To learn more about how to prevent food safety disasters, check out our Food Safety Webinar. You can watch the recording of our live webinar, hosted by Rochelly Serrano. Plus, you can download a copy of the slides. 

Topics: Food Safety HACCP

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