Hazards and Critical Control Points

At each of these steps,as foods flow through the operation,risks can lead to dangerous conditions, which are called hazards.These hazards can be divided into three categories:

1. Contamination, such as cross-contamination from a soiled cutting surface, torn packaging that permits insect infestation, working on food without washing hands, spilling cleaning chemicals on food.

2. Growth of bacteria and other pathogens due to such conditions as inadequate refrigeration or storage, and holding hot foods below 135°F (57°C).

3. Survival of pathogens or the continued presence of toxins, usually because of inadequate cooking or heating or inadequate sanitizing of equipment and surfaces.

Note that these hazards correspond to the sanitation techniques discussed on page19 (keep bacteria from spreading, stop bacteria from growing, kill bacteria).The important difference is that the hazards addressed by HACCP include chemical and other hazards in addition to disease-causing organisms. Naturally, however, most of the hazards we are concerned with are those that affect potentially hazardous foods (see page 18).

At each step where there is a risk of one of these hazards, it is possible to take action that eliminates the hazard or reduces it to a minimum.These steps are called critical control points, or CCPs. In simple language, setting up an HACCP system starts with reviewing the flow of food to figure out where something might go wrong, then deciding what can be done about it. In the language of HACCP, these steps are called assessing the hazards and identifying critical control points.

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