Disinfectants used in food industry: The HACCP concept defined
Why is HACCP important for disinfectants used in food industry? And what does HACCP actually mean? HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It is a quality control and assurance system in all production processes in the food industry and it also regulates the food industry disinfectants. From production to storage and distribution, it contains — but is not limited to — hygiene regulations.
The HACCP concept was devised in 1959, when NASA commissioned The Pillsbury Company to develop safe food for astronauts. The corresponding quality assurance strategies were published as the HACCP concept in the US in 1971. Since 1993, the hygiene regulations in the Codex Alimentarius issued by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are also based on the HACCP guidelines.
The HACCP concept and disinfectants used in food industry: what are “critical control points”, anyway?
Critical control points in an HACCP concept comprise all process areas where, assuming maximum pessimism and equivalent “paranoia”, realistic chemical, biological or physical harm could occur. Hygiene and disinfectants used in food industry guidelines for the catering and food industries are included in these considerations.
For example, cutting food on a board:
- Chemical CCP: residue from detergents, lubricants or disinfectants for food industry.
- Biological CCP: contamination by microorganisms on non-optimally cleaned and surfaces disinfected with food grade cleaning chemicals.
- Physical CCP: metal splinters in food which have splintered off a knife.
The HACCP concept: eliminating the critical control points
After consulting, evaluating and carefully identifying all HACCP, the step-by-step elimination of all risks begins. During this process, the use of quality control concepts (Deming cycle “plan-do-check-act”) is encouraged. Ideally, the Japanese concept of poka-yoke will also be drawn upon. This is popular in lean management and is based on the idea of making something “foolproof” to avoid mistakes.
To illustrate with the above example:
- Chemical CCP: residue from detergents, lubricants or disinfectants in food industry. Solution: use food grade cleaning chemicals i.e. proper disinfectants used in food industry which leave no residue or only residue which is unproblematic. For example, biological detergents such as alkaline detergents which rinse off easily, like Sanosil Disinfectant S003.
- Biological CCP: contamination by microorganisms on surfaces non-optimally cleaned and disinfected with a food surface cleaner for example. Solution: observe hygiene guidelines, change cutting boards after use and wash/dry them in the dishwasher with alkaline detergents.
- Physical CCP: metal splinters in food which have splintered off a knife… Solution: use a metal detector or x-ray machine for final checking.
HACCP guidelines — are they only useful as hygiene regulations in the food and catering industry?
Although the control system is employed in the food industry, the methodology and teaching provided in the HACCP can be applied in a wide range of areas — wherever controlling for environmental risks plays a part. The systematic HACCP concept aims to cover all key risks and ensure they are prevented.
Thus the HACCP concept is also useful in the construction, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Broadly speaking, it is always based on the same seven steps:
- Conduct a hazard analysis
- Identify critical control points
- Establish critical limits for each critical control point
- Establish critical control point monitoring requirements
- Establish corrective actions in case of deviations
- Establish procedures required in the event of exceeding or undercutting limits
- Establish procedures for ensuring the HACCP system is working as intended, and establish record-keeping procedures
Hygiene guidelines for disinfectants used in food industry and the HACCP – EU
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs entered into force in the EU on 1 January 2006. All businesses in the catering and food industry are obligated to implement a full HACCP system. Although the German Food Hygiene Ordinance (LMHV) already prescribed a control system based on the HACCP principles, it did not expressly require businesses to document the measures and controls they implemented.
As of 2006, all food business operators must be able to present their HACCP documentation to the food inspection authority. The EC hygiene regulation has replaced national food hygiene ordinances.
Hygiene guidelines and the HACCP – Switzerland
The Hygiene Ordinance issued in 2006 by the Federal Department of Home Affairs stipulates in
Art. 23: “The appointed officer must ensure that the employees responsible for developing and applying the HACCP concept are trained in all matters concerning the application of the HACCP concept.”
Art. 58 a: When validating or reviewing the proper functioning of their HACCP-based procedure or other hygiene inspection measures, the appointed officer will carry out inspections according to the microbiological criteria as per Annexes 1-3.
And Art. 58 b: Microbiological inspections and sampling: If the appointed officer is able to prove, based on historic records, that they possess functioning HACCP-based procedures, then the number of samples to be taken as per Annexes 1–3 may be reduced.
Although the Hygiene Ordinance does not explicitly stipulate an HACCP concept, when one is in place the food-processing industry benefits enormously due to a reduction in, or waiver of, other control functions. Carried out properly, the HACCP provides optimal hygiene guidelines to guarantee impeccable, hygienic foodstuffs and the use of proper food processing disinfectants at all times.