It is absolutely vital that food producers serve their customers with food that is clean and hygienic at all times, and this rule is the cornerstone of the food industry. A good yardstick to follow in order to achieve this principle is to avoid cross-contamination at all costs while conducting regular inspection for metal contamination before your product leaves the kitchen or warehouse.
Below is how the HACCP’s Critical Control Points relate to this rule:
What Are the Critical Control Points?
The concept of CCPs refers to the ongoing inspection of food as it goes through the production process so that the food is fit for consumption and there are no surprises when the product reaches its final stages. According to the HACCP principles, an inspection needs to be done at each point of the process to check for any health risks and to keep a record of the process for future reference. Therefore, the CCP’s are a type of hazard analysis and record keeping technique.
During this stage of the analysis, the person responsible for the inspection will check the food for any biological, chemical or physical contaminants that might affect the quality of the final product or health safety of the customer. Therefore, the inspectors will analyse the food to check for any splinters or broken glass and metal pieces that might be in the food. They will also perform a risk assessment to check for any potential biological and chemical contaminants and the resulting effects that those contaminants might have on the customer.
Consequently, the examiner at this stage must ask themselves key questions like:
- What possible contamination could occur?
- What is the likelihood of these contaminations occurring?
- What consequences will these contaminants have?
Critical Control Points Identification
A diagram known as the ‘decision tree’ has been developed in order to recognise the Critical Control Points.
This diagram can be used in conjunction with tools like X-ray scanners or metal detectors to spontaneously separate metal contaminants from food.
When you’ve identified your control points and are comfortable with them, then comes the time to set critical limits for these points so as to give you an idea of what to look out for when things are not going right. This could refer to the scanning sensitivity used on the X-ray devices that you use, as well as the relevant indicator to look out for when contaminants have been detected.
Establishing a Monitoring System
A monitoring system refers to the method used in ensuring that the critical limits are observed at each and every control point along the process. For example, the test implements used to examine the functioning ability of your X-ray or metal detector should be used on a regular basis to ensure that it is operating properly to get you the desired results.
Taking Corrective Measures
Try as we may, human error will always be there to challenge the integrity of the HACCP process from time to time, which is why you must also take corrective measures in order to deal with these instances, no matter how rare they are.