Many tons of food is produced and consumed each day, making the food industry one of the most important industries in the world. Of course, all of this food has to be safe to eat, so how do we ensure this is the case? And can this process be improved?
An introduction to HACCP
To ensure food safety, most countries require all food manufacturers and processors to use a food safety management system. Food safety management systems are useful tools to ensure safe practices are followed within a business.
One of these food safety systems is HACCP. It is a systematic approach to identifying the food storage and preparation processes and the potential risks and threats. HACCP is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways of controlling food safety. Compliance with HACCP is also a legal requirement in various countries, such as Ireland and the UK, meaning all food businesses must be managed under the principals of HACCP.
HACCP has the following 7 principles, which must be considered when developing a food safety management system: (from https://www.fsai.ie/food_businesses/haccp/principles_of_haccp.html)
- Identify the hazards
- Determine the critical control points (CCPs).
- Establish critical limits (e.g. cooking temperature/time)
- Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP
- Establish the corrective action to be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control
- Establish procedures for verification to confirm the HACCP system is working effectively
- Establish documentation concerning all procedures and records appropriate to these principles and their application
The current struggles of being compliant with HACCP
While a proper implementation and preparation of a HACCP system, it can be difficult for food business to set up a system like this and to properly maintain it and keep it up to date. A lot of data needs to be measured and collected and has to be available to regulators, which has proven to be a challenge.
In a paper from 2013 about the barriers to compliance with international HACCP regulations, various other struggles of being compliant with HACCP regulations are listed. Some of the barriers the paper lists are a lack of awareness of HACCP regulations, a lack of adequate staff, a lack of self-efficacy and many more. What barriers food businesses face exactly depends on a lot of factors, such as their location, size and many more, but they often face the same core problems.
As HACCP is highly regarded in the food industry, not being compliant with HACCP regulations often results in a severe lack of customers and could even end up getting you banned from importing food products into various countries.
Would it be possible to ease the process of implementing a proper food safety management system and being compliant with HACCP regulations?
How FACT can enhance the process of being compliant with HACCP
Currently, HACCP compliance can be rather cumbersome, with repetitive manual checks and repetitive tasks. Luckily new applications are being developed constantly, which aim to improve the HACCP compliance process for both food businesses and regulators.
FACT is one of these applications. FACT is a powerful GDPR compliance tool to capture events and evidence and record the data on the blockchain for audit and traceability purposes. It is flexible and fully customizable to work with existing processes in current food safety management systems. FACT is powered by Europechain and delivers a toolbox for the recording of events using a simple smart form.
With FACT you build templates for each process, roll it out and start using it immediately. All data is secure, compliant and available when needed.
But how will this make HACCP compliance easier?
FACT can be configured to be aligned with the above principals to ensure realtime compliance and up-to-date referencing for HACCP compliance. FACT can integrate with existing IT infrastructure or can be run as a standalone application to ensure cooperation with legal requirements.
Furthermore, FACT is designed to be intuitive and easy to understand for everyone, making sure everyone who is part of the whole process is able to use FACT.
On top of that, actions and tasks can be distributed to team members ensuring multi-level verification and reporting insights to management and regulators. Questions and sections can be configured to provide comprehensive risk assessment and alert management in the event of a HACCP breach. This would ensure problems get taken care of immediately and efficiently.
Thanks to the transparency provided by FACT and Europechain regulators will also be able to actively monitor food businesses in an efficient and methodical manner.