There are three top challenges for small and medium sized food companies that want to prepare for Hazard Analyses Critical Control Point or HACCP Certification or simply develop and implement a HACCP Plan.
Lack of technical expertise is most often the biggest problem in the development of a food safety program. In order to develop a program that meets HACCP principles, having food safety knowledge is essential. Knowledge of food processing and /or food production would come with a degree in Food Science or Microbiology or with qualifications as a food auditor. In addition to theoretical food safety knowledge, actual experience in developing written programs and conducting HACCP training is also needed. The HACCP team should consist of company employees from different areas. Members of the team should be selected from several departments (eg: management, maintenance, production), which would ensure a multidisciplinary approach to food safety. Effective HACCP teams have well defined role clarity and ensure appropriate representation on the team. A typical HACCP team consists of:
Knowledge of the production processes being evaluated as well as the product being produced is essential. If knowledge of the food safety risks associated with production of the products is not available then external expertise can be obtained as part of the HACCP team. Consultants, such as Dicentra, offer expertise and could work with the organization’s HACCP team in order to develop a HACCP Plan or implementing HACCP Certification successfully.
In order to ensure a well designed safety system another significant challenge is when an operation has a large range of products. In this particular case, a single HACCP Plan will not be appropriate. One of the goals of the HACCP team is to review and group all the products with similar characteristics and processing systems. A separate HACCP Plan for each group of products would be required in order to develop a plan that is effective. For example, in an ingredient plant that produces 800 different products, items can be grouped by process type – Dry Blending Lines, Hot Filling Kettles, and Aseptic Processing Lines. A HACCP Plan for each group of products / processing lines would be most effective.
#3 – Limited Funding & Resources
Limited funding may also be a significant challenge for small and medium food processing operations. Funding may be available from government as the cost of implementation could be between $10,000 and $50,000 for a small to medium sized business.
Consultants will provide services in the following areas:
Funding may be available provincially. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food has a program for food facilities in Ontario called Growing Forward 2 (GF2). Manitoba Agriculture has a funding program available called Food Safety Program for Processor and Distributors.
Regardless of the size of your organization, Dicentra is available to train or guide you through implementing HACCP Certification or HACCP Plan challenges.