Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) compliance verification is an essential step that is part of developing an effective process and monitoring solution to ensure proper food handling and safety. Verification requires testing your HACCP plan to ensure it conforms to the standards you have developed, as well as satisfies any local, state, or federal regulations.
In order to properly prepare for verification, you will want to start by validating your HACCP plan. Validation involves reviewing what hazards and critical control points (CCPs) you have identified, and what controls and solutions you have put into place. Activities you will want to complete as part of your validation include:
- Testing your restaurant machinery and equipment to ensure it falls within acceptable and safe operating parameters. All of your food storage, processing, and preparation equipment and machinery needs to be tested.
- Conducting random temperature and data collection tests. You want to record food temperatures at various stages, from freezer and walk-in temperatures to final preparation temperatures. Additionally, collect any other data that you want to capture as part of your HACCP plan.
- Reviewing employee compliance with safe food handling procedures. Your review should include all aspects of food storage, handling, and preparation, from frequent hand-washing to taking proper steps to avoid cross-contamination of raw and cooked foods.
- Confirming data collection is being recorded and documented appropriately. Recording and documenting data is essential to help identify any potential areas you might have initially overlooked and those that need to be modified. Regular data collection will also help alert you to potential problems so you can take corrective actions sooner.
- Reviewing local, state, and federal regulations. Government agencies will establish acceptable practices in regards to food safety. You want to make sure your restaurant is compliant with these and that they are part of your HACCP plan.
Once you have validated your HACCP plan, you are ready to perform a full verification of it. To get an accurate measure, it is best to perform verification when your employees least expect it. A “surprise” verification will ensure everyone is following the HACCP plan.
Your verification should include conducting a full internal audit, as well as:
- Asking employees to describe the HACCP procedures in detail.
- Verifying temperature and data collection processes are being performed.
- Talking to your customers about their satisfaction in regards to your food.
- Verifying any CCPs are properly being implemented when necessary.
- Conducting employee testing at each stage of food preparation processes.
In addition, you may want to hire an outside restaurant auditing firm to conduct verification to ensure you have not overlooked or missed anything. External audits help provide an unbiased review and feedback about your HACCP plan.
Last, review your HACCP processes and procedures periodically to make sure they are always current and up to date. Anytime you make changes, remember to perform another HACCP verification.
To make conducting verifications and internal audits easier, ComplianceMate is pleased to offer monitoring, checklists, and equipment solutions you can use at your restaurant. For more information or to schedule a free demo, call us at 678.526.4628 today!