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Critical Control Points

Critical Control Points

A central tent of a Food Safety Plan is the HACCP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point analysis. It’s a method of examining the entire process from when the food company receives ingredients to when the end customer consumes it. If you’ve applied process mapping and quality control, it’s a pretty familiar straightforward analysis. If you were doing it the first time, it would be pretty daunting.

If you are morbidly curious, you can read about it here. I know I am often skeptical of government rules and regulations, but I have been nothing but impressed as I’ve learned what a food company is required to do. It’s about prevention and quality control. You map out your entire activity chain and identify those areas where there is potential for contamination. You determine how significant the risk is, and for those that pass a risk threshold, classify them as a critical control point. For that critical control point, you identify what the contaminant might be, how you’ll monitor to determine if contamination occurs, and mitigation strategies for how to get back within specification.

It’s all good, and if anything, it should result in greater faith in our food system. My only concern is for small food companies. This process, for the uninitiated, would be overwhelming. I might have a side-gig as a food safety plan consultant for food startups. 😉

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