Implementation of the HACCP method in the kitchen

The HACCP procedure makes it possible to control health risks during the production or processing of foodstuffs. Widely used by catering professions (restaurants, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, etc.), the HACCP method is equally effective as it is complex to implement: the regulations are indeed not the same from one establishment to another, and depend on various factors such as their size, the nature of the products they work with, etc. In addition, the legislation changes from one region to another.
Here is a short overview of the self-checks to be implemented in your kitchen depending on your region.

General concepts of the HACCP method

🕵️‍♀️ What does the HACCP system consist of?

The HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) system is a theoretical method, invented by NASA 🚀, enabling the control of food hazards and ensuring food hygiene for consumers.

👉 It is based on 7 key principles:

  • Analyse
  • Determine
  • Set
  • Implement
  • Correct
  • Apply
  • Archive

By applying these 7 principles, all professionals can define their HACCP plan or Sanitary Control Plan (SCP). This plan determines the health risks specific to their establishment and the critical control points to be implemented to control these risks. 

These critical control points, known as CCP (Critical Control Point), are based on international hygiene rules such as hand washing, temperature controls, the regular cleaning of premises, etc. They enable the risks associated with the processing and handling of foodstuffs to be controlled and managed.

A properly executed HACCP plan ensures that your establishment complies with the current legislation. This plan includes the implementation of preventive measures and corrective measures in the event of detected nonconformities.

👩‍🍳 Implementing a HACCP procedure

Any business producing and/or processing foodstuffs must implement a HACCP plan adapted to its structure.

From restaurant businesses to catering professions, there are a number of self-checks to be implemented: 

  • ❄️  Control of storage temperatures
  • 🧾  Traceability
  • 🧽  Cleaning plan
  • 🏷  Secondary labelling
  • 🚛  Control of the reception of goods
  • 🍟  Control of the quality of frying oils

❄️ What is the control of storage temperatures and how is it carried out?

The control of the cold chain and therefore of storage temperatures is one of the key self-checks in a successful HACCP plan.

It ensures the safety of consumers by preventing the proliferation of pathogens.

It is necessary to list all the storage environments beforehand and to define the target and tolerated temperature limits.

It consists of measuring the temperature of the storage environments at regular intervals. The temperature must be defined according to the type of foodstuffs stored:

  • ❄️  Fresh products between 2°C and 4°C
  • 🧊  Frozen products between -24°C and -18°C

The records must be documented and archived for each cold room and/or freezer. They must be presented in the case of an inspection.

 🚛 What is the control of the reception of goods and how do you carry it out?

As a professional, you must carry out checks when receiving goods from your suppliers.

This check must be carried out at the time of reception when the goods are unloaded. It must at least contain the following information:

  • Name of the recipient of the goods
  • Date of reception
  • Supplier
  • Correct delivery conditions (cleanliness, driver hygiene, etc.)
  • Temperature of the goods
  • Compliance with the expiration date of goods

This check ensures that the goods received comply with the delivery note and your establishment’s food hygiene practices.

The inspection of incoming goods is a crucial step in the HACCP system, because in the eyes of the law, once you have accepted the goods you are responsible for them and you must guarantee their quality.

In the case of nonconformities, it is recommended to create a “nonconformity sheet” to record the reasons for the rejection of the goods.

These self-checks must be archived and presented in the event of an inspection by the health authorities.

🧾 What is traceability management and how can it be achieved on a daily basis?

Traceability is one of the key elements to ensure food safety for consumers.

It consists of keeping track of all the ingredients used in food production. It enables the production chain to be traced back or down in the event of a problem.

In the context of a catering establishment, one is required to store the following information:

  • labels of products used with their date of use
  • delivery notes from suppliers

This makes it possible to determine when a product has been served and hence to take appropriate action in the event of contamination.

For food production plants, a link must be maintained between incoming and outgoing batches. It is necessary to keep a traceability record, listing the ingredients (incoming batch numbers) for each of the foodstuffs produced. These preparations must then be assigned an outgoing batch number which will be passed on to the client or consumer.
👉 Find out more about what compliant traceability consists of.

🏷  What is secondary labelling (secondary expiration date) and how do you implement it?

It is compulsory to assign a secondary UBD/BBD (Use By date / Best Before date) to all opened products that you store. This date must be written on the concerned product: it is called secondary labelling.

The secondary Use by date is different for every product and is determined on a case-by-case basis and per establishment. It depends on the sensitivity of the products, the storage conditions, etc.

It is clear that the secondary UBD/BBD should never exceed the initial UBD/BBD.

🧽 What does a cleaning plan consist of and how should it be implemented?

The cleaning plan is also one of the key self-checks in a sanitary control plan (PMS). It lists:

  • the different work and storage areas
  • the procedure and tools used for cleaning
  • cleaning frequencies (daily, weekly, monthly, ….)

Each cleaning task must be documented. Your employees must validate these on paper, tablet or using any other tool of your choice, as soon as a cleaning task has been completed.

The execution of the cleaning plan must be shown in the event of an inspection by the authorities.

HACCP regulations in Europe and Switzerland

In Europe 🇪🇺 and in Switzerland 🇨🇭 the food hygiene legislation recommends the execution of self-checks in accordance with the HACCP method.

🇪🇺 The HACCP regulation in Europe

Europe bases itself, among others, on the REGULATION (EC) No 852/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs and REGULATION (EC) No 853/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin. A number of decrees supplement the legislative recommendations.

Some of the obligations found in these decrees concern all food sectors.

🇨🇭The HACCP regulation in Switzerland

Switzerland bases itself on the Federal Act on Foodstuffs and Utility Articles.

A number of good practice guides approved by the FSVO (Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office) exist to assist artisans in the food sector.

However, the veterinary services of each canton have their own recommendations and are responsible for monitoring the correct operation of establishments.

Regulations in the Canton of Geneva

Hygiene inspections and product controls are carried out by the SCAV (Consumer and Veterinary Services).

Regulations in the Canton of Vaud

Hygiene inspections and product controls are carried out by the SCAV (Consumer and Veterinary Services).

Regulations in the Canton of Fribourg

Hygiene inspections and product controls are carried out by the SCAV (Consumer and Veterinary Services).