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Food Safety Procedures – Hazard Analysis

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a system of risk assessing food processing that was developed by NASA to prevent their astronauts suffering from food poisoning in space. It is the recommended food safety technique as it can easily be adapted to suit any food business.

Legislation introduced in 2006 requires that food business operators must put in place, implement and maintain permanent food safety procedures based on the principles of HACCP. These procedures must be documented.

The aim of hazard analysis is to ensure that a number of working practices are followed, thereby making certain that foods produced are safe to eat. This is achieved by ensuring that management and food preparation staff are aware of which tasks are essential and must be completed to guarantee food safety.

Many of these checks may already be in place, are straight forward, and are easy to complete.

The basic idea is to:

  • look at what is done;
  • identify potential food safety hazards that are associated with the business (chemicals, bacteria and foreign objects);
  • look at the processing stages at which these hazards can be realised;
  • decide which of these stages are critical to safety of the food (critical control points are the stages in the production of foods which, if the processing is carried out incorrectly, will result in potentially unsafe food). To be a critical control point there must be no subsequent process that could make the food safe before it is eaten by the consumer.
  • plan and put into place effective control measures to prevent the hazards from occurring at those critical control points.
  • monitor the controls to ensure that they are being carried out effectively, and review them from time to time. Controls should be reviewed if there are any changes to the business.

For food businesses this will involve:

  • list all the different dishes/foods that are made or processed. Group together those that undergo a similar process.
  • identify the hazards to the safety of the foods present on the premises – biological, physical and chemical.
  • draw up a flow chart to show the stages of processing for each of the foods/dishes.
  • highlight on the diagram the critical control points.
  • plan controls to prevent the identified hazards occurring at the critical control points.
  • introduce ways of monitoring that the above controls are working.
  • make sure that the HACCP document is reviewed from time to time, this is especially important if there are any changes to the business involving new ingredients, products, recipes, equipment or premises.

The intention of HACCP is to make the proprietor think carefully about each step in the process of his business, and then using the knowledge gained introduce food safety procedures. This means identifying the hazards, planning how to avoid them, and then ensuring that the control measures are followed and monitored.

The key stages are:

STEPS        the stages in the food business
HAZARDS    the possible hazards to food safety
CONTROLS    the measures to control food safety hazards

MONITORING    the ways to ensure that control are being followed

Useful information can also be found on the food hygiene inspections page.

Safer Food Better Business (SFBB)

The Food Standards Agency have developed a food safety management system especially for small catering and retail business. It was designed primarily for businesses where the manager or owner works in the business in a "hands on" role.

SFBB will be of benefit to food businesses by:

  • helping them to comply with the legislation
  • reducing the risk of food poisoning/food complaints
  • protecting the reputation of the business
  • improving management of the business
  • reducing some costs
  • assisting with the training of staff

The FSA produce information packs for small catering and retail businesses providing useful guidance on SFBB. These can be downloaded from their website.

  • Caterer information pack
  • Retaile information pack
  • different cuisines information pack (small catering businesses such as restaurants and takeaways that serve either Chinese cuisine or Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan cuisines.)

Contact Details

If you require any more information, advice or help with Hazard Analysis, or would like an SFBB pack please contact North Hertfordshire District Council's Environmental Health Commercial Team. Details of how to contact the team can be found on the Housing & Public Protection contact page.