Create a Food Safety Management System in 8 Steps
Need to Create Or Update Your Food Safety Management System?
If so, this blog post will give you a bit of background info and outline the 8 sections you need to include in your food safety management system. You also need to know why it’s important to have a food safety (or HACCP) management system, so this post will cover that. Lastly, what does having a good food safety management system help you to achieve? We’ll talk about how you can improve your food safety performance by actively using your HACCP management system. Go straight to the 8 steps!
What is a Food Safety Management System And Why is it Important?
A Food Safety Management System is a written document that details exactly how your business manages food safety and hygiene. The preferred system is known as a HACCP (Hazard and Critical Control Point) management system. Your business has its own individual risk profile and is subject to a plethora of eye-watering legislation. Your food safety management system details, categorically:
- The procedures you use to maintain compliance,
- Your business’ specific risks and hazards (Critical Control Points) and controls,
- All relevant information necessary to manage food safety successfully in your business.
Having a food safety management system is important because:
Can You Create a Food Safety Management System By Yourself?
If you don’t have a detailed knowledge of food safety and hygiene, then I would strongly advise you to speak to a competent food safety professional first. They can advise you what to do, or do it for you.
8 Steps to Creating a Full Food Safety Management System
A full HACCP management system often comes in the form of a complete and comprehensive food safety manual. This document can be broken down into 8 sections (or steps). Each should be covered in as much detail as possible:
Step 1 – Policy
The first section of your food safety management system includes your policy statement. You should detail the nature of the work carried out in your business, your general legal responsibilities, your commitment to HACCP practices, and your commitment to ensure that the food you prepare and/or serve is safe for consumption.
Step 2 – HACCP Introduction
This is a general overview of your HACCP responsibilities and includes:
- Details of your business’ general HACCP responsibilities.
- A record of the person or team of people responsible for carrying out all HACCP duties.
Step 3 – Critical Control Points
This section of your food safety management system is one of the most important. It details all of the critical control point areas, risks and potential hazards in your business that must be controlled, eliminated or reduced. It also details your procedures for managing them. Find out more about the 8 critical control point categories here.
Step 4 – Enforcement officer inspections
This details the specifics of a visit from your local authority’s Environmental Health Officer / Practitioner. You should record your procedure for dealing with an inspection so that the process goes smoothly.
Step 5 – Complaints Procedure
In the event that you receive a customer complaint, you should follow a specific procedure to protect you from liability. This procedure should cover:
- Who deals with the complaint;
- How the claim is recorded;
- How you investigate the incident;
- What happens next.
Step 6 – HACCP Summary
This is where you record details of all of the food safety and hygiene risks in your business, together with specific hazards observed for each risk. You should record:
- Each risk group relevant to your business, e.g. food production risks, storage risks, waste management risks, etc;
- The Critical Control Point that risk group falls under;
- Specific hazard details for each risk group, and;
- The controls and corrective actions undertaken.
Step 7 – Physical Premises Standards
To ensure your premises is complaint with legislation and industry guidance, you should ensure that the design, structure and layout of the premises, and the provision of services, equipment and facilities, are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Step 8 – Supporting Documentation
You should include templates of all forms used for record keeping (e.g. training, temperature checks, audits, etc). You should also include any other useful documents, such as flow diagrams for HACCP processes, or food traceability records. Other record templates to include could be training records, temperature control checklist, storage checklists, delivery receipts, audit forms, etc.
How Can Active Food Safety Management Help Your Business?
You have a comprehensive food safety manual. Now you have to use it! Review your HACCP system regularly, and refer to it when you monitor and audit your performance. This will ensure that you stay ahead of nasty food safety problems. And this shows in more than just performance figures and reduced complaints. The atmosphere in your business may well improve because your staff are better trained, more organised, your premises are maintained to a high standard, and food is prepared properly. This state is difficult to define, but easy to feel when you walk into a well-managed food business.