HACCP awareness

Operatives at sites which handle food products need to have an awareness of how food safety is managed within their business. Historically, this meant providing not only a basic food safety course (which taught them the principles of food safety), but also a basic HACCP course as well (which taught them how to apply the food safety principles).

However, the typical basic HACCP course would also teach them how to put a HACCP plan together and the legislation that needs to be considered when doing this. Which – is totally unnecessary for someone who will never carry out such a task. It’s no wonder that this type of training would turn off the learner and bore them half to death. And once you’ve lost someone’s interest – they won’t absorb anything you’re trying to teach them.

The key to good training, is to teach what the learner needs to know, no more and no less. And do it in a way which relates to them, so they understand immediately how to apply what they’ve learnt.

This is why – it’s important to teach operatives the principles of what HACCP is and how it’s applied, specifically to their day-to-day work.

In our Food Safety & GMP training for operatives we provide just enough detail about HACCP so that the learner can understand where CCPs come from and how they’re applied to the tasks they do every day. We don’t teach them about the names of the legislation and how to apply likelihood and severity to determine the significance of a hazard – because they’ll never need to use that, so why bore them with something they’ll never remember?

Common CCPs

It’s important that operatives understand the CCPs that apply to the products that they handle and the principles of product safety control. Specifically, they need to understand:

  • Critical limits – that this is the point at which the product becomes safe.
  • Monitoring – that this must show that the critical limit(s) have been met.
  • Corrective action – that when the monitoring fails, we must correct the problem so that unsafe product is not dispatched.

Each of our Food Safety & GMP courses for operatives cover the CCPs that are relevant for that particular product sector. Let’s look at what operatives need to know about the specific CCPs in the packaging and storage areas on site.

Packing CCPs

It’s important for operatives to understand that the product must be not contain physical contamination, in the form of foreign bodies. Therefore, foreign body detection must be applied immediately before or directly after packing for all product.

This means that either metal detection, X-ray, filtration or sieving must be in place and these are typically controlled as a product safety control point (CCP, OPRP, or PC).

To provide the operative with an awareness of these CCPs they need to understand why they’re in place, what they do and how they work. Combined with the product safety control – including the critical limit and monitoring for each foreign body detection system. Plus, any other key information.

Metal detection

A metal detector is in place to remove metal foreign bodies. They do this by detecting metal in the product and rejecting the product from the line. The critical limits for metal detection are the test pieces and what size and type they are.

The operative needs to understand that to monitor (check) that the metal detector is working, they need to pass the test pieces through the machine and it should recognise them as foreign bodies and reject them. The monitoring is typically carried out at the start of the run, hourly during the run and then again at the end of the run.

If the metal detector doesn’t reject ANY of the test pieces, the operative must understand that this is a failed test and therefore corrective action must be applied. And that this must include:

  1. Putting all the product on hold since the last test,
  2. calling an engineer to fix the metal detector and,
  3. retesting all the product that’s been put on hold, to make sure it doesn’t contain metal.

Key information:

The reject bin must be kept locked, so that only authorised people can access the rejected product.

Bakery Metal Detection
Chocolate Metal Detection
Confectionery Metal Detection
Fish Metal Detection
Meat Metal Detection
Nuts Metal Detection
Raw Produce Metal Detection
RTC Metal Detection
RTE Metal Detection
Snacks Metal Detection

X-ray

An X-ray is in place to remove foreign bodies. These foreign bodies can be metal, but an X-ray can also see other foreign bodies such as glass, rubber and stone. The X-ray does this by detecting the foreign body in the product and rejecting the product from the line. The critical limits for X-ray are the test pieces and what size and type they are.

The operative needs to understand that to monitor (check) that the X-ray is working, they need to pass the test pieces through the X-ray machine and it should recognise them as foreign bodies and reject them. The monitoring is typically carried out at the start of the run, hourly during the run and then again at the end of the run.

If the X-ray doesn’t reject ANY of the test pieces, the operative must understand that this is a failed test and therefore corrective action must be applied. And that this must include:

  1. Putting all the product on hold since the last test,
  2. calling an engineer to fix the metal detector and,
  3. retesting all the product that’s been put on hold, to make sure it doesn’t contain foreign bodies.

Key information:

The reject bin must be kept locked, so that only authorised people can access the rejected product.

X-Ray CCP

Filtration

Immediately prior to the product being packed, it’s filtered to make sure that there are no foreign bodies in it.

The critical limit of filtration is the filter size, which is defined by the Product Safety Team – who pick the optimum size for the product and the minimum size for removing as many foreign bodies as possible.

The filter is monitored to make sure that it’s not broken and also to check if there are any foreign bodies captured by the filter. If the filter mesh is made of metal, it can become a foreign body in itself, if it gets broken.

The foreign bodies that are captured by the filter must be investigated, to establish if it’s part of a larger problem that requires action.

The filter will be monitored for integrity at the frequency determined by the Product Safety Team, considering access to the filter and the amount of product that may be at risk if the inspection was to fail. But as a minimum it will be checked at the end of a specified batch, whether that be one single product run, one shift, one day, one week etc.

If the filter is found to be broken when it’s monitored, the operative must understand that corrective action must be taken. And that the amount of product to be recalled depends on how often the check is done.

Key information:

When the filter is checked for integrity, it’s important to check the seal around the filter to make sure that it’s not deteriorating.

Alcohol CCP
Dairy CCP
Drinks CCP
Egg CCP
Oil CCP

Sieving

Immediately prior to the product being packed, it’s sieved to make sure that there are no foreign bodies in it.

The critical limit of sieving is the sieve size, which is defined by the Product Safety Team – who pick the optimum size for the product and the minimum size for removing as many foreign bodies as possible.

The sieve is monitored to make sure that it’s not broken and also to check if there are any foreign bodies captured by the sieve. If the sieve mesh is made of metal, it can become a foreign body in itself, if it gets broken.

The operative must understand that foreign bodies that are captured by the sieve must be investigated, to establish if it’s part of a larger problem that requires action.

The sieve will be monitored for integrity at the frequency determined by the Product Safety Team, considering access to the sieve and the amount of product that may be at risk if the inspection was to fail. But as a minimum it will be checked at the end of a specified batch, whether that be one single product run, one shift, one day, one week etc.

If the sieve is found to be broken when it’s monitored, the operative must understand that corrective action must be taken. And that the amount of product to be recalled depends on how often the check is done.

Key information:

When the sieve is checked for integrity, it’s important to check the seal around the filter to make sure that it’s not deteriorating.

Temperature control

When storing chilled or frozen product, temperature control is a product safety control point (CCP, OPRP or PC) because it ensures that the product is safe to eat until its expiry date.

This means that the temperature of the storage area must be monitored. The operative must understand that the critical limit is the minimum temperature of the environment.

Many such storage areas are automatically monitored but the operative must understand what would happen if the temperature fell below the critical limit and what corrective action they must take. For example, an alarm may sound and they must then ensure that all doors are kept shut, to keep the storage area as cold as possible.

Foreign bodies in packaging

Packaging processes typically don’t have product safety control points (CCPs, OPRPs, PCs) but foreign body control is still important depending on the packaging being produced.

Manufacturers of glass containers for example, need to teach their operatives about the safety implications of glass inside the container, because food or drink could be put inside and therefore anything in the container will contaminate the finished product.

This means that process control such as vision systems or inversion are key to ensuring that packaging isn’t dispatched with foreign bodies in them. And, that the control of these must still include checking that the machine is working and applying corrective action where it isn’t.

Checks must be carried out on the machine to make sure that it removes specified foreign bodies and the operative must understand when and how these checks must be completed. As with a CCP, it’s important that where checks fail, that the product that’s been produced is assessed – and where it’s at risk, it must be put on hold and reinspected.

Your next step

Does your Basic Food Hygiene or Level 2 training include this level of detail about the CCPs that are key to your products and processes? Check to make sure and implement this level of detail to ensure that you meet the requirements of your Standard.

Why not change to our training?
It’s the modern version of Basic Food Hygiene and Level 2 Food Safety – Food Safety & GMP for Operatives. We have 20 versions of this course, so you can pick the one (or ones) that suit your product and process exactly. All our courses go into detail about the product safety control points (CCPs, OPRPs, or PCs) that are relevant to the product sector.

Food Safety & GMP training for operatives

Have your say…

3 thoughts on “HACCP awareness – what operatives need to know about CCPs

    1. Great article but I think that there is still confued about the difference between CCP and OPRP because filter may be not CCP it may be OPRP and this depend on Fesability of monitoring of filter

      1. @Ahmed adel – I think that the decision on whether a filter is a CCP or OPRP tends to come down to whether the filter is in place specifically for foreign body removal, or whether it is in place as an operational requirement (for example, a grading screen on a flour mill would likely not be a CCP as its purpose is to separate product streams, but the final sieve is likely to be a CCP as its main purpose is to remove foreign bodies from the final product.)

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