| My daughter’s boy friend stayed for dinner recently and was impressed with our after-dinner cleanup. He watched as each of us carried out our individual assigned tasks, my wife putting away leftovers and condiments, my daughter rinsing and stacking plates into the dishwasher, and me at the sink hand washing. To him we seemed a model of efficiency. It didn’t take long to return the kitchen to its usual state of pristine evening cleanliness. “Our kitchen is always a mess,” he complained, “probably because we’re so disorganized.”
You can imagine what would happen if a food manufacturing plant operated like a disorganized household kitchen. Although employees may know they are responsible for delivering safe products to consumers, without the right procedures in place an unsafe chaotic mess may result. To get everyone moving in the right direction we look to guidelines established in HACCP Design Principle No. 6.
Principle 6: Establish procedures for ensuring the HACCP system is working as intended. – In large part this Principle acts as a report card. It follows up on the guidelines established in Principles l through 5, organizing activities into written procedures.
For example, design engineers must routinely analyze important identified stages within a design project, then write procedures, that is, a step-by-step instruction guide, which encompasses them. In this way personnel involved in the design process make best use of the safeguards put in place by HACCP Design Principles 1 through 5. These steps include things like preparing design proposals, analyzing risks and hazards, creating preliminary designs, conducting design reviews, building prototype equipment and tooling, running tests, collecting test data, and analyzing test results. For each step, responsibilities of key individuals involved must be clearly defined and sequentially ordered.
But writing department procedures is only part of Principle 6. Procedures are no good if they’re just thrown into a file cabinet and no one ever looks at them. What good are guidelines without a full understanding of how to use them? Training may be necessary, and management must decide what form that educational process takes to be most effective.
Engineering management must verify that established procedures are adequate to the task. This typically involves taking a hard look at finished design projects and checking critical factors. Was an adequate risk analysis performed? Were sufficient critical control points established and critical limits monitored for effectiveness?
Next time we’ll wrap up our discussion on HACCP Design Principles by examining No. 7. It’s the last of the Principles and it’s concerned with establishing record keeping procedures.
Tags: CCP, critical control point, critical limits, department procedures, engineering expert witness, food contamination, food equipment design, food hazard, food manufacturing, food manufacturing plant, food production line, food safety, forensic engineer, HACCP, HACCP design principle, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point