The HACCP system has been adopted both
by food processors and restaurants, as well as by the FDA in its latest
code (1993). At this time, there are no particular mandates that HACCP
inspection forms must be used by all foodservice establishments. However,
instituting such a plan may prove advantageous on a variety of levels.
If you decide to begin instituting
HACCP procedures in your restaurant, you should know that it does require
some initial investment of time and human resources. It is becoming
obvious, however, that this system can save money and time, and improve
the quality of service your are able to provide your customers.
Computer systems help make many of the
parts of a HACCP system easier to institute - flowcharts, standards and
measures to control hazards, and tracking how and when control measures
are used by you and your staff.
The heart of HACCP is the following
seven principles :
Assessment of hazards and risks.
Determining the critical control
Establishing critical limits (CLs).
Establishing procedures for monitoring
Establishing corrective action plans.
Establishing a system for maintaining
Developing a system to verify and
The way in which an individual
operation may apply these principles will vary. Not only it is permissible
to make the system fit your establishment's style, it is imperative. Chain
restaurants receive and process foods differently than an a la carte
In order to make full use of a HACCP
system, you need to clearly identify where foods are most likely to be in
danger of contamination, and when and where you can do something to
eliminate the risk or reverse the danger.
Foods can become contaminated at many
points as they travel from their point of origin to your guests. Those
particular points at which food is in immediate danger of becoming a
source of a food-borne disease are referred to as critical control points.
Example of these points include any of
the following situations -
Raw foods come in contact with
pathogens through exposure to contaminated cutting boards, an employee's
hands, or through cross-contamination. For instance, a knife is used to
cut a chicken, and then used to cut cabbage for coleslaw without cleaning
and sanitizing the knife.
Eggs yolks or hamburgers are not
cooked to a safe temperature, thus allowing pathogens that might have been
killed at proper temperatures to survive and establish themselves in the
Foods, especially those considered as
potentially hazardous foods, are allowed to remain at a temperature within
the danger zone for more than 3 hours.
Foods are not cooled to below 4oC
(40oF) before storing.
Foods are stored in containers that
are not properly cleaned.
As you look over the path that foods
take, from the time that you receive them until they are served, you will
be able to establish acceptable procedures for handling them safely. This
may include a set of standards for receiving, storing, and reheating that
outlines acceptable temperatures, containers, procedures for thawing,
cooling and reheating, and other food-handling issues addressed in this