COVID is shaking up habits. In terms of hygiene, recommendations and regulations are evolving in line with the pandemic. What about the HACCP plan? Are there any changes that need to be considered in your company?
Nowadays, a regulation on food hygiene (852/2004) specifies the obligation to set up an HACCP plan in one's company to fight against consumer-related hazards. The HACCP plan must be regularly updated, for example, in response to changes in recipes or processes. The current context has led businesses to review their HACCP plan(s).
What is the point of updating it with Covid-19? How to best manage it in this particular context ? Answers to follow.
Why set up an HACCP plan?
This method has its origins in the 1960s in the United States, when NASA and the army considered sending men into space. At that time, it was necessary to guarantee the safety of the food that the astronauts were going to eat. The Pillsbury company was in charge of developing the tool to avoid the systematic use of destructive testing.
The HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis Control Critical Point), is therefore a preventive tool that aims to ensure the safety of food products. The method is presented in the form of 12 steps, divided into 5 preliminary steps and 7 principles.
Companies that wish to market their products in supermarkets must have BRC or IFS certification. Both certifications are based on the construction, use and implementation of an HACCP plan.
What is the point of updating it with the Covid-19?
The HACCP plan is one of the elements of the SCP (Sanitary Control Procedures). Its update is not a regulatory obligation. It is a choice of the company, but it is necessary in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.
Several elements of the HACCP plan need to be updated:
- New risks, which take into account the prevalence of the Covid-19 virus on surfaces and in premises;
- New control measures, in particular wearing masks, fitting out the premises...
- Appointment of the Covid referent, who will carry out various missions such as the management of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) stocks or the application of barrier gestures;
- Updating the EDM (Electronic Document Management): procedures, records...
As a result, audit practices may need to change, in particular due to the multiplication of sites and relocation, which increases the geographical scope of activity. Dematerialisation of data can be very useful in this context.
Is it possible to dematerialise your HACCP plan?
The answer is YES!
Especially in the context of the Covid-19 crisis, it will be interesting to use new organisational strategies internally.
For audits, there are now solutions that allow you to manage your audits remotely: the person being audited is present on site, guided by the remote auditor. On the day of the audit, both parties receive an SMS/email to connect to a videoconferencing system, with no downloading required. The auditor will be able to take photos or videos remotely, and write comments that will be edited in the final report.
It is particularly interesting to digitise your HACCP system to be alerted in real time when a new risk is identified. Likewise, it is possible to associate an action in relation to the identified danger(s), and this action can be automatically implemented in the company's Global Action Plan.
Thanks to the EDM module, you will have access to the different versions of the HACCP plan as well as the consultation/modification history. Very useful during compliance audits!
Regarding the field approach, there are now tools that can be transposed to smartphone/tablet/computer. Operators can quickly report non-conformities found in the field using a digitised form.
Management can have access to field statistics from automatic dashboards.
It is therefore recommended to update your HACCP plan as soon as it becomes necessary (internal changes, health crises, etc...). Relying on digital and dedicated tools is more useful than ever in this process.
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