04 Oct 2019 How to write a HACCP plan
The first thing to know about a HACCP plan is that it takes a team. There are several steps in the process, and each step should be run past another person at the very least. This is because it is easy for one person to forget about something, or miss the relevance of a certain location, let us take a look in more detail.
What is a HACCP Plan?
HACCP means Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and it basically refers to working out what might go wrong with your food safety and taking steps to prevent these things from happening. Therefore, the first step of any HACCP plan is to work on the CCP bit and pinpoint all the critical control points – steps in your food production process where things can go badly wrong if not carefully planned.
How to start
Make a list or a diagram of the process your food products follow into and around your kitchen to the customer’s plate. This will be something like:
Loaded onto van at supplier – unloaded from van – brought to kitchen – checked and signed for – put away in appropriate time frame – (defrosted) – prepared for cooking – cooked – kept warm/ rapidly cooled/ served to customer.
Control what you can
Obviously, you cannot control the way your goods are looked after by your supplier or the driver, so checking your goods as they arrive may be a critical control point. Accepting the goods and getting them into the fridges or freezers as soon as possible can mean that you miss a problem. Examine the outer packaging, making sure it is fairly clean, with no leaks coming through from the food inside. Open the packaging in a decontamination zone and bin it, checking the food with a temperature probe and by eye, looking for anything untoward. Only then should it be ticked off and placed into the freezers – and this must all take place within 20 minutes of the food being offloaded, so preparation and speed are key. For this reason, try to arrange deliveries for quiet periods when you can stop what you are doing and devote instant time to the delivery.
Attention to detail: try to cover everything
Repeat this sort of detailed analysis for each of the steps, making sure that highly detailed instructions are easily accessible by your staff member who might have to cover you one day. Keep the information in a file that should always be in the kitchen with details of any physical or online food safety training that you or your staff have undertaken, and all your records of fridge and freezer and hot hold temperatures.
Work with all the members of your kitchen and ask them all to give you some input into the HACCP plan – this is one area of kitchen strategy where too many cooks will not spoil the end result!