Use HACCP to reduce risk as a food processor

HACCP is a systematic plan that will help food processors reduce risk by evaluating hazards and determining ways to control the hazard.

Over the past four years, Michigan has averaged 3,500 reported cases of foodborne illness. Since foodborne illness is significant in Michigan, food processors should take adequate steps to ensure their products are safe and produced in sanitary conditions. One of these steps is through a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plan (HACCP).

What is HACCP?
HACCP is a tool and not a stand-alone program for processors concerned with food safety. Other pieces of a good food safety program include:  

  1. A personal hygiene program
  2. A Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures
  3. Other good management practices.

HACCP uses seven principles that will help the processor evaluate hazards in the product and find places in the process where control points can be set up. Processors will establish and monitor critical limits and decide what to do when a hazard is present and exceeds the critical limit. For instance, in the case of a hazard, can the product be reworked and made acceptable, or does the product need to be discarded? With the HACCP plan, producers will have an accurate record and verification that the records are being used.

How HACCP helps the processor
As noted above, foodborne illness is significant in Michigan. Public health authorities seek to find the source of foodborne illness so that corrections can be made and future outbreaks can be prevented. The processor using HACCP will be able to present public health officials important information to aid in their investigation. A HACCP plan will demonstrate that the processor has taken steps to limit the likelihood of a hazard occurring at the processors location and may help pinpoint that the hazard occurred at some other point in the processing/logistic channel.

For more information and to see when a HACCP training is coming near you, visit the NSF International website.

The Michigan State University Product Center provides food safety testing and assistance to help Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the value-added agriculture, food and natural resources sectors. For more information, visit the Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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