Building a HACCP Plan

It’s Never Been Easier or More Affordable to Build Your HACCP Plan

By Chad Penner 

Imagine a food processing facility where, one day, an employee notices a discoloration on a product, or a strange smell coming from a packaging machine. How does this employee follow up to ensure quick investigation and corrective action? How do supervisors and coordinators identify the origin and nature of the problem? And most importantly, how can any aberrations be controlled and contained before either food quality or safety is put in jeopardy? This is where hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans come into play, both as a preventive and corrective tool. HACCP plans, currently primarily operating on hard copy basis throughout the food industry, allow companies to document their daily check lists and log all of their critical data relating to the production process.

And yet, creating and implementing a HACCP plan is no easy task. Food supply chains are more complex than ever, and only by extensive research, strict accountability, and constant vigilance can they be kept safe and efficient. From growers to manufacturers to distribution to retailers; multiple protections and processes should be in place to protect the food supply chain that ends on the consumer’s table. Creating and operating a compliant HACCP plan and food safety policy is an ongoing war, with potential contaminations and missteps posing a constant threat. Many businesses of all sizes are looking for help with these complicated yet absolutely essential HACCP plans, including the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs) as well as good manufacturing practice (GMPs) policies.

Most HACCP plans are still implemented in a curiously outdated way: in a digital world, these systems still primarily rely on forms, filing cabinets, and binders in storage rooms. However, it is now possible, from farm to fork, for small and large business owners alike, to implement an inexpensive HACCP plan and fully create and monitor their policy, streamline their data and enjoy costs savings while having visibility right down to the location/employee level.

The answer lies with digitization and cloud-based systems that encompass all the areas needed to streamline crucial food safety data and eliminate the mountains of paper and the time to collect and organize them. In addition to huge cost-saving potential, using synchronized digital systems allows organizations to see their operation(s), locations and employee tasks in real-time and provides a window into their corporate food safety policy at work. This can be a valuable tool to teams overseeing food safety and quality assurance. Teams can address hot spots and issues right away, not after the fact. Using cloud-based digital systems, company-wide visibility can be implemented by user login credentials to deliver precise real-time directed data, for example, company approved “corrective actions” for selection and tight controlled “processes” implemented. This means that the employee who notices something off can report it right away and receive real-time direction from food safety and quality assurance staff.

From an economic prospective, the advantages of a cloud-based food safety management system quickly become apparent. The elaborate food science and associated biological, physical and chemical hazards of the food industry can be simplified and the reliance on HACCP-based paperwork and logs will become a thing of the past. Organizations are able to implement intelligent designs that go beyond “track and trace” which become a preventative, living, breathing application that ensure best practices that can be easily managed and monitored 24/7 in any operation.

About the Author

Chad Penner is Directing Change: Multi-Unit Operators at HACCP Builder, providing Simple, Green and Effective Food Safety Solutions. 

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