Beginner’s Guide to HACCP Temperature Requirements
HACCP is a system that helps businesses manage food safety. It involves identifying, monitoring and controlling food risks to prevent hazards from occurring. Every business is different, so they must use HACCP principles to develop a food safety management system that applies to their own requirements. There are various types of food safety hazards encompassed within this system, but here we are just looking at HACCP temperature requirements.
What does HACCP stand for?
The acronym HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.
What are the HACCP 7 principles?
- Identify hazards that must be avoided, removed or reduced.
- Identify the critical control points (CCPs) when you need to prevent, remove or reduce those hazards.
- Set limits for the CCPs.
- Monitor the CCPs.
- Take corrective action if there is a problem with a CCP.
- Put checks in place to make sure your HACCP plan is working.
- Keep records of your system, checks and corrective actions.
What are the HACCP hazards?
There are four main types of hazards to be aware of:
- Microbiological hazards such as bacteria, yeasts, moulds and viruses.
- Chemical hazards like water, food contact materials, cleaning agents, pest control substances, contaminants (environmental, agricultural and process e.g. acrylamide), pesticides, biocides and food additives.
- Physical hazards, including glass, packaging, jewellery, pest droppings, screws etc.
- Allergens, which refer to the risk associated with the unintended presence of one or more of the 14 EU-listed food allergens due to cross-contamination.
Identifying HACCP critical control points
These are the areas of your business where the hazards should be prevented, monitored and controlled.
For microbial hazards, critical control points include things like monitoring food temperatures to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Chemical hazards should be controlled using COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations to prevent hazardous substances from coming into contact with food.
Controlling physical hazards may look like prohibiting glass objects and jewellery from the kitchen.
Allergen control includes maintaining an accessible list of allergens within each dish and using colour-coded kitchen equipment to avoid cross-contamination.
Limits, monitoring and corrective actions
Setting limits for your CCPs means establishing safe ranges for your critical control points, outside of which corrective actions must be taken. For example, setting a limit on your fridge thermometers to alert when the temperature is higher than 8 °C, the legal limit in the UK.
Once limits are set, you must establish a procedure for monitoring your CCPs. Monitoring your fridge temperatures may involve checking your fridge thermometers four times per day and recording the results in a log book.
It’s important to establish corrective actions so that employees know what to do in the event of CCPs falling outside of set limits. For example, if a fridge temperature is found to be out of range, the corrective action might be to probe the food inside the fridge and move it to another cold storage unit if it is still at a safe temperature, or to throw the food away if it is not.
Keeping HACCP records
HACCP documentation is a crucial part of your food safety management system. This is the evidence that you are correctly complying with legal requirements. If your business were to be investigated for a food safety incident and you did not have a reliable data archive to support your case, you could face serious fines.
The traditional method of recording CCPs is to use physical log books and to manually record the data each day. But this still leaves a lot of room for error. Entries can be made up, written down incorrectly or completed at the wrong time of day.
Increasingly, businesses are turning towards digital systems as they are more reliable, like Bluetooth probes and Wi-Fi data loggers. Each entry has a time and date stamp and will be transferred to your device where the data is safe and accessible.
HACCP temperature requirements
Common temperature CCPs for restaurants and catering businesses include the following:
Deliveries – ensuring cold chain food products are delivered within their safe temperature ranges.
Food storage – maintaining fresh and frozen foods at safe temperatures.
Food preparation – cooking food to safe temperatures.
Food service – keeping hot held food above 63 °C and reheating food to 74 °C.
Calibration – checking the accuracy of your thermometers regularly.
Learn more about monitoring these CCPs here.
Which HACCP process thermometer is best?
There are lots of different types of thermometers you can use for each stage of your HACCP plan, check out 5 Essential Temperature Solutions for Your HACCP Plan for a thorough guide to these.
As a minimum, the two HACCP process thermometers you should be using are a fridge/freezer thermometer and a food probe thermometer.
HACCP fridge thermometers
If you’re looking for an economical and reliable fridge thermometer, we’d recommend our Digital Fridge/Freezer Alarm Thermometer. The external probe means the unit can sit outside of your fridge, so you don’t even have to open the door to complete your temperature check. The audible alarm will sound if the temperatures fall outside of your preset ranges, preventing costly food spoilage.
To save time on manually recording fridge temperatures and increase the security of your data, another great choice is a Wi-Fi thermometer like the ThermaData TD1F. It will automatically take readings at programmed intervals and send them to your device where you can view the data worldwide, in real-time.
HACCP food probe thermometers
A reliable cooking thermometer is a must for every food business. You should look for one that is accurate, fast reading and robust, like the Thermapen thermometers. Loved by chefs worldwide, they’re easy to use and built to last. They also come in a Bluetooth version, so you can keep a secure digital backup of your readings using the HACCP LE app.
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