As a food product company it was important we, at Zizira, understand and follow food safety business practices. We are sharing with you what we learnt as the answer to the question “What is HACCP”.
Zizira, based in the northeast state of Meghalaya, a bio-diversity hotspot of India, makes plant-based products for discerning customers who appreciate the way we diligently and responsibly partner with farmers and maintain product excellence - from the field to urban families.
Our team makes trips to remote corners of the state to meet farmers and get to know their pain points. These trips always help us discover a new produce or learn something from the farmers. Here is why we do what we do.
One of the many systems that work as checks and balances of the food production industry is something called the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). Let us see what is HACCP. It is an internationally accepted technique structured at preventing, eliminating or minimizing microbiological, chemical and physical contamination in food production.
In the early years of the US manned space program, there was a vital need to ensure the food that astronauts would eat in space at zero gravity was safe in every respect.
They wanted to prevent contamination during the production stage itself, rather than test only the end-product.
Instead of leaving it to the food inspectors to detect food safety issues, the HACCP process makes it the responsibility of the food product manufacturers to ensure that the product is safe to ingest.
So a new food production monitoring system was a need. To determine this, the Pillsbury Company was roped in to work alongside NASA and the US Army Laboratories at Natick, Massachusetts. They came out with a successful procedure that involved detection and eliminating hazards at every stage, or at every critical point, of the production line – right from the point of origin to the end product.
In that scenario, HACCP looked at what could go wrong at these critical points and halted that from happening in the first place. Critical limits were set at every critical point upon which control measures were put in place and validated. They were then monitored, verified and documented. So, if at any stage an audit was taken, the actual time-noted records would verify the same. This system is now adopted in the food industry with repeated successes.
The HACCP system, together with the GHP (Good Hygiene Practices) also forms the basis of the recommended code of practice for food safety management of the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). The Codex was first published in 1992 by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization combine and became the primary guidelines for most countries’ food safety and standards acts.
The last half a century has seen a sea change in patterns of food manufacturing processes and food consumption. The supply chain that handles the food business has now become colossal in breadth and complexity. New desired food safety levels now demand that the food businesses must:
Every food business, great or small, is a link in the supply chain where every entity shoulders responsibility for food safety. This includes the consumer because they are the ones that feel the hardest impact. Certain factors have now become the general norm, made necessary by the changing patterns.
The main ones are:
A robust HACCP environment will minimize contamination and reduce or destroy hazards, especially the yet unknown ones.
By 2050, an exploding population of an estimated 9 billion people will clamour for more food. This will spawn new food issues that might require resources bigger than today’s. This will also need an even more robust HACCP system to meet these future challenges.
In the above scenario handling food has emerged as a sensitive problem that needs as error-free a solution as possible. Rather looking for solutions to already occurring problems HACCP instead takes a more common-sense approach: pre-empt problems from occurring.
But who needs HACCP? Basically, every business that involves itself in the food supply chain, which includes food and dietary supplements and their value-added products. Businesses may be the biggest retail chains or the brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop stores. If they need permanent and credible solutions for food safety, HACCP is the ideal system. So, we covered what is HACCP. Let us now what it involves.
HACCP is an acronym for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. The principles are uncomplicated and easy to set up and implement. It embodies seven principles that are the permanent main pillars of an effective HACCP system to ensure effective safe food production.
The greatest benefit of HACCP protocol is its streamlining effect of a company’s production process from the word go. HACCP certification enjoins the company to:
A responsible food business will always adopt successful, tried and tested procedures in its operations. What makes or breaks a company is the confidence perception of its customers.
Statutes and laws are only guidelines to the making of a socially-conscious company, that is, a prosperous one. At Zizira we are conscious of our obligations about food safety while we endeavour to give to our customers only the certified best.