HACCP is the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points system that was developed to ensure the safety of food for United States astronauts nearly 30 years ago . This system is now being used in our restaurants because these guidelines make good sense.
When customers go into a restaurant, most of them are looking for a clean, safe place to eat. By applying the basic principles of HACCP to your restaurant business, you will be making sure you serve safe food to your customers.
Analyze hazards. Potential hazards associated with a food and measures to control those hazards are identified. The hazard could be biological, such as a microbe or chemical, such as a toxin; or physical, such as ground glass or metal fragments.
Identify critical control points. These are points in a food production from its raw state through processing and shipping, to consumption by the consumer, at which the potential hazard can be controlled or eliminated. Examples are cooking, cooling, packaging, and metal detection.
Establish preventive measures with critical limits for each control point. For a cooked food, for example, this might include setting the minimum cooking temperature and time required to ensure the elimination of any harmful microbes.
Establish procedures to monitor the critical control points. Such procedures might include determining how and by whom cooking time and temperature should be monitored.
Establish corrective actions to be taken when monitoring shows that a critical limit has not been met . For example, reprocessing or disposing of food if the minimum cooking temperature is not met.
Establish procedures to verify that the system is working properly. For example, testing time-and-temperature recording devices to verify that a cooking unit is working properly.
Establish effective record keeping to document the HACCP system. This would include records of hazards and their control methods, the monitoring of safety requirements and action taken to correct potential problems. Each of these principles must be backed by sound scientific knowledge. For example, published microbiological studies on time and temperature factors for controlling food borne pathogens.
HACCP looks at the flow of food through your restaurant, from the time it is delivered to the time it is served to your customers. Lets take a look at how this might pertain to your restaurant.
1. The Delivery - When you receive a delivery make sure the food is in good condition. Frozen foods must be received frozen. You will need to open the carton and take the temperature of the item, which should be 0 degrees F or -18 degrees C. Look at the bottom of the box and make sure there are no puddles or indication that the product has started to thaw. Produce should read 40 degrees F or 4.4 degrees C. You need to check all the packaging of the dry goods to make sure they are intact. Packages that are crushed, dented or ripped may have damaged goods inside or there could be pests or rodents inside. The canned goods should not have bulges, dents, leaks or rust. Also check the dates the product expires. Refuse any products that do not meet these standards.
2. The Storage of Products - ROTATE! REMEMBER FIFO (first in first out)! This is extremely critical when the product involved is highly perishable, such as pre-sliced meats or produce. When you put your products away, always date the boxes. Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are at the correct temperatures. Refrigerated products must be stored below 40 degrees F. or 4.4 degrees C. and frozen foods must be stored at 0 degrees F. or -18 degrees C. Also, there should be enough room for circulation around and under the stored product. Never store boxes on the floor of the refrigerator or freezer. No canned or dry goods can be stored on the floor because they can be contaminated when you mop. They should not be stored near cleaning chemicals as these might leak and contaminate your supplies.
3. Food Prep - Remember to use only clean and sanitized equipment and utensils. Thaw all frozen food in the refrigerator. Keep refrigerated products cold until you work with them. Make sure all hot foods are prepared quickly and that they reach the right temperature (165 degrees F./73.9 degrees C) and that they are held 140-145 degrees F./60-60.8 degrees C. Never mix old products with new. Proper hygiene habits are a must for all staff with proper hand washing. Prep only the food you plan to use in one day. Date all food prep.
4. Serving customers - Because employees can transmit illness, they must have high personal hygiene habits. They must have clean hands, hair in place, clean clothes or uniforms and each must be thoroughly trained in proper hand washing techniques (before starting work, returning from the restroom, touching food or serving customers, after cleaning assignments, handling money or non-food items, touching hair-face-or skin and in between preparing different food products).
5. Storing products when closing - Store hot products in large shallow pans as this will enable the product to cool quickly. Never store open canned products in their cans. Make sure left over food is covered and labeled.
Remember these are examples and guidelines. Your health department may have different procedures. You need to know their requirements and abide by them.
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