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Top Takeaways from HACCP Food Safety Training

Written by Craig Cerbins, Vice President - Commercial Banking

Each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six Americans contracts a foodborne illness. The Food & Drug Administration’s food safety management system Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) helps food and beverage producers improve food safety and reduce the risk of food poisoning. Removing risk completely is effectively impossible; however, as consumers increasingly become more educated about food consumption, and information is available at their fingertips, food manufacturers must continue to produce products as safely as possible. Most customers will require their food processors to have a third-party audit. 

I recently completed HACCP training and became certified as part of my continuing education in the food & beverage industry. HACCP was originally developed in the 1950s by a team of food scientists, which included The Pillsbury Company and NASA, to ensure food safety for the space program.

According to the FDA, “HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.”

While HACCP training and the development of a HACCP plan are detailed and time-intensive, here are some of my takeaways from the certification program:

  • Developing a HACCP plan should include a cross-functional team to ensure they identify the risks and ways to mitigate them.
  • After creating flow diagram, as part of your HACCP plan it’s imperative to perform a walk-through of the process to ensure no steps are missing from your process. The plan and process should be consistent – from raw material in, through processing, and finished product out.
  • Perform a validation of HACCP plan annually and when you make any major process changes.
  • Top management MUST commit to your food safety plan for your team to also demonstrate commitment – this is the most important step.

You can learn more about HACCP at the WMEP website: https://www.wmep.org/food-beverage-services/ or visit the FDA site: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/HACCP/default.htm

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