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BEST PRACTICES IN CONTROLLING TIME/TEMPERATURE EVENTS AND OTHER FOOD PROBLEMS THROUGH THE USE OF HAZARD ANALYSIS CRITICAL CONTROL POINTS (HACCP) PRINCIPLES

The FDA’s definition of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system is as follows: “HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.” (See endnote 60.) This definition came out of the work between government and industry to prepare food for space exploration individuals that would not cause foodborne disease.

HACCP is a system used to identify and prevent disease and injury from microbial contamination and other hazards in all types of food production as well as in the preparation of foods and a variety of retail outlets. There are seven major principles involved in this approach as follows:

  • • Perform a hazard identification and analysis review of the raw materials areas and the food facility whether production or retail to determine the severity and nature of all potential food safety hazards and appropriate methods of preventing, mitigating, and controlling them. Prepare a written plan that can be evaluated.
  • • Identify the critical control points (a point in the process or a procedure which may lead to disease) where food safety hazards may be occurring and prevent, mitigate, or eliminate the situation to produce food which can be safely consumed.
  • • Establish in a scientific manner a critical limit for each critical control point beyond which the food may be unsafe for human consumption and apply appropriate means to alleviate the problem. An example would be a time and temperature range.
  • • Establish specific monitoring requirements for the limits of the critical control points beyond which potential health problems may occur, and enforce them strictly.
  • • Establish and strictly enforce appropriate corrective actions to be taken when problems occur or reoccur before the end of production or preparation of the food, and then dispose of that which is contaminated and record the results in writing.
  • • Establish verification procedures for testing, sampling, and other means of monitoring, and document in writing the HACCP plan, as well as the results of monitoring and correction of problems.

• Establish procedures that will validate in writing all of the problems which have occurred, the means of handling the problems, as well as the adequacy of the plan and if it is working properly. (See endnotes 11, 12.)

General Best Practices for Food Security and Protection

  • • Use the seven HACCP principles as modified for all types of food production and food facilities.
  • • Produce safe quality food for the consuming public by providing highly trained supervisors and managers to effectively oversee a variety of procedures which helps quickly recognize and control potential sources of contamination. Training must consist of at least in-depth knowledge of means of contamination of food and Best Practices in avoiding them including all means of food protection; employee health and personal hygiene, especially hand washing procedures; in-depth knowledge of all facets of each of the production and preparation processes and Best Practices; in-depth knowledge and practical application of supervision, training, and management techniques to ensure that the workforce is knowledgeable and competent in carrying out food safety requirements.
  • • Conduct background checks of all prospective employees.
  • • For temporary food venues such as fairs and festivals, immediately check all semitrucks and other storage areas to ensure that food is kept under proper refrigeration and that the storage areas are clean and not subject to any type of contamination including flooding and breach of security in locked units.
  • • For temporary food venues in fixed facilities such as stadiums, all locations must be licensed and this should be done prior to the athletic or other event. During the event, all available environmental health personnel should be inspecting each of the food serving units as a priority and then the drink serving units secondarily if time permits. The local and/or state government should grant the authority to the environmental health personnel to immediately shut down any unit that has serious environmental health and safety problems in the area of food protection.
  • • For temporary food venues and non-fixed facilities such as fairs and festivals, prior to the opening of the event, the sponsor of the event must inform in writing all food and drink vendors of the rules and regulations concerning food protection at the event and that a serious violation of them will result in immediate closure and denial of future right to operate at any event within the jurisdiction of the community. All available environmental health personnel should make complete inspections including of refrigeration, source of water supply, sewage and solid waste disposal practices, insect and rodent control techniques, etc. prior to the opening of the event. During the event, all available environmental health personnel should make frequent multiple spot checks of the food operations which are most likely to result in a potential for foodborne disease and also to check the water supply. The environmental health personnel should have the same authority to shut down units that are potentially hazardous.
  • • For temporary food venues which are mobile food delivery systems typically by trucks, all these units must be given a full inspection at the commissary before they are permitted to go on the road. All environmental health personnel despite their assignments, unless it is an absolute emergency, should stop and inspect all mobile food venues. They should have the same authority to shut down the units if they are potentially hazardous and escort them back to the commissary or if necessary call the police.
  • • Conduct self-inspections or third-party audits of all raw materials and raw material producers, facilities, processes, and personnel on a regular basis and make immediate corrections were problems occur.
  • • Ensure that all interior surfaces within buildings are impermeable, easily cleaned, and that there is no peeling paint.
  • • Upgrade facilities and production methods as needed to continue producing safe quality food.
  • • Use a safe water supply with adequate quantities of water for growing of crops; production, processing, and preparation of foodstuffs; and cleaning and sanitizing of all equipment, surfaces, and utensils.
  • • Frequently clean ice production and storage facilities and do routine bacteriological and chemical testing.
  • • Store all chemicals and other potentially hazardous materials away from food processing, food preparation, and food storage areas.
  • • Transport and then store all foods at proper temperatures in clean, pest-proof vehicles, containers, and facilities.
  • • Prevent contamination by sewage of all food growing, processing, storage, preparation, and serving areas.
  • • Discard all chipped, cracked, and marred items which have surfaces that may come in contact with food and replace these items or equipment immediately.
  • • Only purchase equipment that has been approved by an accrediting authority such as the National Sanitation Foundation.
  • • Teach the public how to prevent disease by proper use of time and temperature controls for all foods, as well as proper hand washing techniques when handling food.
  • • Do not permit food from unsafe food sources to enter the food production or food preparation system.
  • • Determine and enforce strictly all appropriate hot and cold temperatures and time periods for storage, processing, cooking, holding, preparation, and serving of food, and make necessary immediate corrections where needed, and destroy the food that has been handled improperly.
  • • Consider all equipment prior to usage and after usage to be contaminated and therefore clean and sanitize in an appropriate and timely manner.
  • • Enforce strictly all personal hygiene rules, especially the appropriate washing of hands and the removal of sick employees from the food processing and food preparation areas.
  • • Provide appropriate clean clothing for all employees to help prevent contamination of food.
  • • Keep written records of all major potential breaks in technique and exposures to microbiological, chemical, or physical contaminants, review them frequently and establish protocols to prevent them from reoccurring.
  • • Provide frequent training and retraining for all personnel.
  • • Use microbiological testing procedures as required and self-inspections to: determine areas of potential contamination and the type and amount of contamination; validate decontamination techniques and success rate; validate the effectiveness of training, and use of appropriate procedures especially concerning high-risk foods.
  • • Calibrate all instruments frequently to ensure their accuracy for microbiological and chemical testing.
  • • Use first in, first out procedures for all raw materials and finished products.
  • • Certify all vendors prior to use.
  • • Develop and strictly adhere to an allergen management program including: specific training for processing and supervisory personnel; segregation of food allergens during processing and storage; proper cleaning procedures to remove potential allergens; prevention of crosscontamination between allergens and allergen-free foods; review of allergen-free products labels which must state the potential contamination of any products; and determine if the ingredients supplied by the provider are certified as allergen free.
  • • Establish a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for all buildings and facilities to prevent deterioration and contamination which may affect the health and safety of employees as well as the food for human consumption.
  • • Establish a regular maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing schedule for all equipment with food contact surfaces.
  • • Establish an integrated pest management program including pest traps and screening of all openings to control insects and rodents by eliminating food, harborage, and breeding areas and then applying targeted specialized chemicals when necessary to destroy the pests.
  • • Regularly review all production and process controls to ensure that the food will not become contaminated. (See endnotes 6, 15, 16.)
 
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