If you’re in the food business, Food Safety Management System and HACCP certification is a topic that comes up frequently. What is it? And what is it that HACCP-certified establishments do differently? In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about HACCP certification.
What is HACCP certification?
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It’s a system that was developed by the USDA and FDA to help ensure food safety. Basically, it’s a set of guidelines that restaurants must follow in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
HACCP certification is an international recognition given to food companies that have a thorough HACCP plan. A HACCP implementation certification is the culmination of all of your establishment’s and team’s efforts to keep food safe at the highest level.
A HACCP certification is like a badge of honor for your food establishment, proving to customers that you are dedicated to following all the food safety rules and regulations. While HACCP certification is not required by law, many restaurant chains require their suppliers to be HACCP-certified.
Who needs HACCP certification?
- Food Manufacturers: Companies that produce and process food products.
- Food Processors: Facilities involved in various stages of food processing.
- Restaurants and Catering Services: Businesses that prepare and serve food.
- Retailers: Stores that sell food products, including supermarkets and grocery stores.
- Distributors and Suppliers: Businesses involved in the distribution and supply chain of food products.
- Importers and Exporters: Companies engaged in the international trade of food.
- Farmers and Growers: Particularly those involved in producing raw food products.
- Seafood Processors: Businesses handling and processing seafood products.
Why do you need a HACCP certification?
There are many benefits to getting HACCP certified, including peace of mind knowing that your restaurant is following the highest standards for food safety. This certification can also give you an edge over your competition.
Assurance about food safety practices
To receive certification, an organization must demonstrate that it has processes in place to identify and control any food safety risks associated with its supply chain. An independent third party reviews processes and performs a risk assessment before any certifications are issued. This evaluation includes auditing a producer’s or farm’s facilities, ingredients, records, and testing practices.
Expanded market access
Organizations that are certified can open up their potential buyer pool significantly, as many customers only want to purchase from certified companies. Additionally, certification can be a powerful selling and advertising tool for businesses looking to grab a share of that market.
One of the most devastating things that can happen to an organization is a loss of reputation. Consider the impact of an organization that has a food-handling incident that affects its customers. That’s why food safety management is so important; it establishes a risk management system to help prevent loss of reputation.
Employee involvement and awareness
Making sure employees are adequately trained and understand their role in the food safety management system is a critical part of the certification process. This not only improves process consistency but also creates a more engaged workforce.
How to get a HACCP certification?
Here’s everything you need to know about the HACCP accreditation process.
The first step is to attend a HACCP training course. This will teach you the basics of the certification process and give you an overview of the guidelines you’ll need to follow. After completing the training, you’ll need to develop a HACCP plan for your restaurant. This document outlines all of the potential hazards in your food preparation process and details how you will control them.
Once your plan is in place, it’s time to get certified. The certification process involves an on-site food safety audit of your restaurant by a HACCP-certified inspector. They will review your HACCP plan and make sure that you’re following all of the guidelines correctly. If everything looks good, you’ll be awarded your HACCP certificate! Congratulations, you’re now part of a select group of restaurants that are committed to serving safe, high-quality food.
Does HACCP certification expire?
HACCP certification typically expires after a year, but it’s best to check with your auditor for clarification. You will also need to know when it is time for renewal as part of the maintenance for your HACCP certificate. The third-party audit you hire will generally determine the expiration date for your certificate.
It is important to note that following the first HACCP audit, you may be required to participate in additional yearly follow-up surveys conducted by the original third-party certification body. The results of these subsequent surveys may or may not be made available publicly. Additionally, various auditors have different policies regarding your HACCP certification expiration– so make sure you are aware of yours!
How much does HACCP certification cost?
HACCP certification will cost between $400 and $3,000 per day, for a total cost of $5,000 to $6,000. The total HACCP certification fees is determined by a number of factors, including:
- Your company’s size
- The extent to which your HACCP plan has been implemented
- The number of errors in any process step and the corrective actions required to achieve a standard acceptable level
- The auditing firm you’re working with
- What kind of certification you need
How can a digital tool like KNOW help?
If you’re looking to streamline your food safety compliance and get all your data in one place, KNOW can help. By digitizing your food safety checks and documentation, you can reduce the chances of the risk of any non-compliance being missed and keep more accurate records. With our easy-to-use platform, you can get real-time insights into all potential risks. To get started, book a free demo today!