We all know that food safety is the number one priority for every restaurant operator. So it is important to have procedures in place to ensure all potentially hazardous food items are handled properly to ensure the safety of your guests. Creating a restaurant HACCP plan for your menu is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Depending your customer base and the ingredients on your menu, in some jurisdictions, creating a restaurant HACCP plan is also a submission requirement for health department plan review permits.
For those who have never created a restaurant HACCP plan before, it can be a little challenging to do properly; but once you understand the basic format, it is a really simple operations document to develop. If it is not required by your local health department, it is still a very good idea to go through this process if your menu includes potentially hazardous food items.
In a simple explanation: HACCP, which stands for Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Point, is a system that will enable you to consistently serve safe food by identifying and controlling possible hazards (biological, chemical, or physical) throughout the flow of food. The HACCP system is a process that combines proper foodhandling procedures, monitoring techniques, corrective actions and record keeping to ensure that the food remains safe throughout its entire flow process through the facility.
A restaurant HACCP plan is typically required for certain facilities that, following a preliminary priority assessment, are classified as a High or Moderate risk facility. A full description, should you have a tremendous amount of time on your hands, can be found on the FDA website here: HACCP Principles & Application Guidelines
For a food establishment that the health department classifies as a High or Moderate Priority facility, the following information will need to be submitted to comply with the Hazard Analysis requirements.
Restaurant HACCP Plan General Food Preparation Information
- Describe how you will ensure that all foods received will be from approved sources.
- Specify whether raw meats, poultry, and seafood will be stored in the same refrigeration units as cooked/ready-to-eat foods. If so, describe how cross-contamination will be prevented..
- Indicate how each category of frozen potentially hazardous foods will be thawed.
- Indicate how each category of potentially hazardous foods will be cooled. Methods include: ice baths, shallow pans, reduced volume, rapid chill, etc.
- List the categories of food that will be prepared more than 12 hours in advance of service.
- Specify how ingredients for cold ready-to-eat foods will be pre-chilled before mixing or assembly.
- Specify whether any prepared foods are distributed off-premises.
- Specify whether any foods are received in reduced oxygen packaging, or are reduced oxygen packaged on-site.
Restaurant HACCP Plan Information
For the menu items identified by the health department as being frequently involved in food-borne illnesses, you will need to submit a completed restaurant HACCP plan. Once approved by the health department,if necessary, these plans will need to be readily available in the food preparation area of each facility. During the process of completing your plan, it is necessary to carefully analyze how the foods are prepared. The most important steps in terms of the safety of the foods, known as critical control points, must be identified on the restaurant HACCP plan. At these points, a potential food hazard is controlled by properly completing an approved handling activity. The activity often has a measurable component or limit that can be monitored. Critical Control Points (CCP’s) generally include thawing, cooking, chilling, reheating, and hot-holding, but other steps may be included depending on the food. The way in which the CCP’s are monitored must be described on the HACCP plan. If the activity at the Critical Control Point is not completed properly due to employee error, equipment malfunction, etc., a description of the needed corrective action is also necessary. The corrective action for each CCP will need to be placed on the HACCP plan.
These instructions may sound overly analytical, but once you review the visual example below, it will make more sense. If you believe that you may still require assistance in creating a restaurant HACCP plan, you can Contact Us and our qualified restaurant kitchen design consultants and we will be delighted to assist you with this process.
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