Since 2006, EC Regulation 852/2004, Article 5 requires all food businesses to put in place ‘food safety management procedures’ based on the principles of HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point). HACCP is a way of managing food safety involving looking closely at what you do in your business and what could go wrong. It is based on putting in place procedures to control hazards.
You must also keep up-to-date documents and records relating to what you do. Remember to review your procedures if you change what you produce or how you work.
HACCP consists of the following stages:
- Identifying potential hazards
- Deciding which stages are critical to food safety, such as temperature, and at which stages in the food operation things may go wrong - the ‘critical control points’ – these are the places you need to focus on to prevent hazards or reduce them to an acceptable level
- Putting procedures in place, such as setting limits, (for example: fridge temperatures should be between 0°C and 8°C) to make sure hazards are controlled at your critical control points
- Making sure that your procedures are working by creating and carrying out checks on the controls
- Deciding what corrective action you need to take if a control is not working and something goes wrong
- Keeping appropriate records to show your procedures are working
- Examining the food business periodically to see if the system needs updating
The important thing is to have food safety management procedures that are appropriate for your business. You can develop your own procedures based on the principles of HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point). Alternatively you can use a pack produced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), your local authority, or a food industry guide recognised by the FSA, to help you comply with the law.
The extent and complexity of the management systems will need to be appropriate to the size and type of food business. The person responsible for developing the plan must be adequately trained to do so.
Up to date records and documents must also be kept on site to show that you are meeting the HACCP requirement and to protect you from legal action. These records could include training, food temperatures, monitoring of deliveries and pest control.