Food Safety Risk Management Through HACCP
Purchasing Liability Insurance is no Substitute for a Strong HACCP Plan
By Skye Marie
Food is fundamental, vital, and no one is exempt. Therefore, any business handling a food commodity is affecting every person and must insist that food safety risk management be their first priority. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to realize the serious ramifications of not understanding the significance of this. Finances are expended on many things, from buildings to bar stools, from staff to stemware and from advertising to ambience. Truth be known, if the food passing through these establishments isn’t safe, none of these expenses will matter.
Consideration of the price of adhering to a strict set of standards for food safety risk management must be weighed against the tremendous cost of losing reputation, revenue, livelihood, legal fees, and/or the of loss of a life. The dollars invested by an organization in establishing and conveying the commitment to a safe food environment reaps returns that have lasting effects. These include growing customer loyalty, increasing profits, and expanding markets achieved through the persistent awareness of food safety each hour of every day.
A regulatory authority will inspect for good manufacturing practices, food safety policies or prerequisite programs, (these procedures must be in place before HACCP can be applied), and are only able to provide a snap shot. They are complaint driven, meaning there must be an official complaint to do a thorough in-depth investigation of any food safety risk management infraction. Self-monitoring has become the norm, and has done little to comfort or assure the public that an effective food safety plan is in place.
HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) is a methodology that identifies, evaluates and controls hazards (physical, chemical, biological and allergenic) and focuses on a proactive rather than a reactive approach. And it is also internationally recognized as an effective system for food safety risk management. The rewards of implementing and maintaining a HACCP-based food safety risk management system can exceed the expectations of any company’s potential. HACCP can be the greatest defense in protecting the public and retail food businesses, as it provides a means of demonstrating through documentation the ability to minimize and manage the risks of how food is prepared, stored, transported and displayed from food production to food consumption. As the Food Supply Chain employs this brilliant gift called HACCP, our food products become not only safe to sell, but more importantly also safer to eat.
Any food businesses still relying on their false sense of security through purchasing liability insurance alone will quickly discover that without HACCP, they will be hard pressed to meet the demands of evidence (in the event of a legal action) to prove “due diligence” or “reasonable care” (required by our Canadian courts), of what was done to prevent or avoid a foodborne illness. HACCP requires daily logs to be accurately completed and submitted to a supervisor to be authenticated and signed, creating a legal document. Maintaining records and being monitored frequently by a third-party completes the picture of a comprehensive HACCP program. A HACCP-based food safety risk management system is the best method for keeping fears at bay, and is worth the expense, time and effort to strengthen every consumer’s confidence.
About the Author
Skye Marie is CEO and Founder of HACCP Canada, a national Certifying Body and Third-Party Auditor, closing the gaps of safety in the food supply chain through HACCP.
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