Setting Standards and Following Procedures

The next step in designing an HACCP food safety system is setting up procedures for critical control points. At each critical control point, food workers need to know what standards must be met, what procedures to follow to meet the standards, and what to do if they aren't met.To reduce the chances for making mistakes, these standards and procedures are written out.Whenever possible, they should be included in the operation's recipes. In Chapter 5,you will see how CCPs are incorporated into a standardized recipe.

Some procedures are general and include the sanitation rules discussed earlier in this chapter. For example:Wash hands before handling food and after handling raw foods; hold foods above 135°F (57°C) or below 41°F (5°C). Others apply to specific items. For example: Cook a beef roast to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) and ensure that it stays at that temperature for at least 3 minutes.The Minimum Safe Internal Temperatures discussed on page 29 are an important part of the standards of a HACCP system.

Careful observation is needed to know when standards are met.This often involves measuring.The only way to know, for example, that a roast has reached the required internal temperature is to measure it, using a clean, sanitized thermometer.

Managers must ensure that all employees are trained to follow procedures and have the equipment needed to do the job.

Once these procedures are developed, additional steps in setting up an HACCP system are important to ensure that the system is effective: monitoring critical control points, taking corrective action if procedures are not followed, keeping records of all aspects of the system, and verifying that the system is working.

As this brief introduction to HACCP implies, establishing such a system to control all aspects of food production requires more information than this chapter has space for. Refer to the Bibliography for more detailed information.

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