The Haccp Team

It is very important to have full commitment to the HACCP initiative from management at all levels. Both the company and the personnel involved in the development of the HACCP plan must be totally committed to its implementation (22,44). The first task is to assemble a team having the knowledge and expertise to develop an HACCP plan. The team should be multidisciplinary and could include plant personnel from production/sanitation, quality assurance, laboratory, engineering, and inspection. The team should also include personnel who are directly involved in daily processing activities, as they are more familiar with the specific variability and limitations of the operations. It may be necessary to hire an expert in public health risks associated with the product or process.

2.1.1. Team Composition

Those who will be involved in hazard identification. Those who will be involved in determination of CCPs. Those who will monitor CCPs. Those who will verify operations at CCPs.

Those who will examine samples and perform verification procedures.

2.1.2. Required Knowledge

Technology and equipment used on the processing lines. Practical aspects of the food operations. The flow and technology of the process. Applied aspects of food microbiology. HACCP principles and techniques.

2.1.3. Scope Issues

Limit the study to a specific product and process.

Define the type(s) of hazards to be included (e.g., biological, chemical, physical). Define the part of the food chain to be studied.

2.1.4. Coordinator Duties

Ensure that the composition of the team meets the needs of the study. Suggest changes to the team if necessary. Coordinate the team's work.

Ensure that the agreed established plan is followed. Share the work and responsibilities. Ensure that a systematic approach is used. Ensure that the scope of the study is met.

Chair meetings so that team members can freely express their ideas. Represent the team before management.

Provide management with an estimate of the time, money, and labor required for the study.

2.1.5. Training Requirements

It is essential that the team members be trained in the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene and the guidelines for the application of the HACCP system to ensure that the team will work together with a common focus and use the same approach and terminology.

2.2. Resources

The necessary resources for the HACCP study include the following:

Time for team meetings and administration. Costs of initial training. Necessary documents. Access to analytical laboratories.

Access to information sources to answer questions raised by the team (e.g., universities, public and private research authorities, government and public authorities, scientific and technical literature, databases).

3. Methods

3.1. Describe Product and Identify Intended Use

Each food product should be described completely including all ingredients/processing methods/packaging materials/other used in the formulation of the product, to assist in the identification of all possible associated hazards. In brief, the product description should include the name, ingredients and composition, potential to support microbial growth (water activity [Aw], pH, and so on), brief details of the process and technology used in production, appropriate packaging, and intended use, including target population (see Note 5).

This information will be essential, particularly for microbiological hazards, because the product's composition needs to be assessed in relation to the ability of different pathogens to grow. The product to which the HACCP plan applies should be described on Forms 1 and 2 (Tables 1 and 2).

3.1.1. Formulation of Product

What raw materials or ingredients are used? Are microorganisms of concern likely to be present in or on these materials, and if so what are they? If food additives or preservatives are used, are they used at acceptable levels, and at those levels do they accomplish their technical objective? Will the pH of the product prevent microbial growth or inactivate particular pathogens? Will the Aw of the product prevent microbial growth? What is the oxidation/reduction potential (£h) of the product?

HACCP in Food Safety Table 1

Form 1: Product Description

1. Product name(s)

2. Important product characteristics of end product (e.g., Aw, pH, and so on)

3. How the product is to be used

4. Packaging

5. Shelf life

6. Where the product will be sold

7. Labeling instructions S. Special distribution control

Canned mushrooms pH 4.8-6.5 (low acid) Aw > 0.85 (high moisture) Normally heated before serving (casseroles, garnishes, and so on) or sometimesserved un heated (salads, appetizers, and so on) Hermetically sealed metal container Two years plus, at normal retail shelf temperatures Retail, institutions, and food service. Could be consumed by high-risk groups (infirm, immunocompromised, elderly) None required to ensure product safety No physical damage, excess humidity, or temperture extremes date:

approved by:

Table 2

Form 2: Product Ingredients and Incoming Material

Product Name(s): Canned mushrooms

Raw material

Packaging material

Dry ingredients

Mushrooms (domestic, white)

Cans Ends

Salt

Ascorbic acid Citric acid

Other

Water (municipal)

date:

approved by:

3.1.2. Processing and Preparation Checklist

Can a contaminant reach the product during preparation, processing, or storage? Will microorganisms or toxic substances of concern be inactivated during cooking, reheating, or other processing? Could any microorganisms or toxins of concern contaminate food after it has been heated? Would more severe processing be acceptable or desirable? Is the processing based on scientific data? How does the package or container affect survival and/or growth of microorganisms? How much time is taken for each step of processing, preparation, storage and display? What are the conditions of distribution?

3.1.3. Form 1: Product Description

1. Product name (common name) or group of product names (The grouping of like products is acceptable as long as all hazards are addressed.)

2. Important end-product characteristics: properties or characteristics of the food under review that are required to ensure its safety (e.g., Aw, pH/preservatives).

3. How the product is to be used (i.e., ready-to-eat/further processing required, heated prior to consumption).

4. Type of package, including packaging material and packaging conditions (e.g., modified atmosphere).

5. Shelf life, including storage temperature and humidity if applicable.

6. Where the product will be sold (e.g., retail, institutions, further processing).

7. Labeling instructions (e.g., handling and usage instructions).

8. Special distribution control (e.g., shipping conditions).

3.2. Construct Flow Diagram and On-Site Confirmation of Flow Diagram

It is easier to identify routes of potential contamination, to suggest methods of control, and to discuss these among the HACCP team if there is a flow diagram (Table 3). The review of the flow of raw materials from the point at which they enter the plant, through processing to departure, is the feature that makes HACCP a specific and important tool for the identification and control of potential hazards (Table 4). Data may include but are not restricted to the following:

All ingredients and packaging used (biological, chemical, physical data). Sequence of all process operations (including raw material addition). Time/temperature history of all raw materials and intermediate and final products, including the potential for delay. Flow conditions for liquids and solids. Product recycle/rework loops. Equipment design features.

3.3. List All Potential Hazards Associated With Each Step, Conduct Hazard Analysis, and Consider Any Measures to Control Identified Hazards

The Codex Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System and Guidelines for its Application [Annex to CAC/RCP 1-1969, Rev. 3 (1997)] defines a hazard as "A biological, chemical or physical agent in, or condition of, food with the potential to cause an adverse health effect." The hazard analysis is necessary to identify for the HACCP plan which hazards are of such a nature that their elimination or reduction to acceptable levels is essential to the production of a safe food.

The contamination of a food with a very low level of these microbes can still cause illness if the food is subsequently mishandled (Table 5).

3.3.1. Hazards

3.3.1.1. Biological Hazards

Foodborne biological hazards include microbiological organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. They are commonly associated with humans and with raw products entering the food establishment (Table 6).

Table 3 Flow Diagram

Product Name(s): Canned mushrooms

Mushrooms (raw)

Empty cans/ends

Dry ingredients

Water (municipal)

1. Receiving

2. Receiving

3. Receiving

4. Intaking

5. Storing

6. Storing

7. Storing

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