Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic approach used to prevent chemical, physical and biological hazards in food production. The approach focuses on preventing problems before they occur.
HACCP is an internationally recognized method which requires manufacturers to include prerequisite programs and plans.
It sounds as though there is a lot to HACCP, doesn’t it?
Well, actually, there is!
That’s why many large companies delegate one person to implement and maintain the HACCP program.
The name of the profession that is in charge of this task is known as a HACCP Coordinator! Not to be confused with a Quality Assurance Technician or food safety manager, this profession specifically takes care of HACCP.
HACCP Coordinators manage HACCP Programs
HACCP Coordinators provide leadership and direction through the implementation and management of a HACCP program. They coordinate the development, implementation, maintenance and updates of the HACCP system. HACCP Coordinators ensure that documentation is maintained and updated based on improved processes. In addition to creating documentation, they also develop food safety and food quality-related training programs.
These professionals assist with third-party audits. To successfully complete these audits, HACCP Coordinators must lead monthly team meetings and provide monthly HACCP system performance reports. Finally, they ensure that when something goes wrong at the plant, corrective actions are put in place, and preventative measures are established.
HACCP Coordinators complete a lot of paperwork
There is a saying in food quality – if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.
HACCP programs require companies to have documentation on processes, monitoring procedures, deviations and corrective actions taken at each critical control point. These documents come in many forms such as processing charts, checklists and written records.
HACCP Coordinators create this documentation as outlined by HACCP requirements. On top of that, they continuously review worker activities to verify that activities are performed according to procedures. This involves verifying if workers are keeping up with the completing the paperwork physically or digitally.
HACCP Coordinators have degrees in science
It is very common for HACCP Coordinators to have bachelor’s degrees in food science, biology, nutrition or a related field. However, in recent years, alternative routes have sprung up for students. Some companies only require individuals to have a college diploma in a food science-related discipline such as quality assurance or microbiology.
No matter their education, it is essential that HACCP Coordinators have working experience for at least a year in a quality-related role like Quality Control or Quality Assurance. Experience in these roles gives individuals a better perspective on what goes on in a manufacturing plant.
Finally, becoming a HACCP Coordinator requires an actual certification in HACCP. These certifications can be obtained from reputable certification provider that offer online courses or in-person training. It is difficult to create an effective HACCP plan if you have never been trained how to do so!
HACCP Coordinators work directly with operations staff
HACCP Coordinators need to have strong written and oral communications skills when working with a team.
Carrying out an effective HACCP plan requires the dedication of every level of an organization. To bring these teams together, HACCP Coordinators speak with all levels of staff and build trust. These levels of staff include production, supervisors and upper management. Individuals should feel they can come to the coordinator and that their concerns will be genuinely heard and considered.
HACCP Coordinators analyze trends
An essential step in any HACCP plan is to monitor operations and determine if there is a trend towards a loss of control. What does this mean? Simply put, a loss of control is when a hazard puts a food’s safety at risk. With the assistance of production management and the quality control department, HACCP Coordinators monitor plant operations to determine if there are any repeated food safety failures.
For example, in a manufacturing plant that deals with allergens, a HACCP Coordinator might notice that over the period of a month, the plant failed numerous peanut allergen tests. They would investigate to find the root cause, which in this example could be poor cleaning because of poor training of new staff.
HACCP Coordinators assist with audits
An audit is the process of verifying proper food safety practices at a food and beverage processing facility.
Audits are systematic, independent and determine if hazards are properly identified and controlled or eliminated. Data collected from audits helps manufacturing plants verify proper safety practices and identify key areas which need to be improved.
Preparing and going through an audit is a lot of work and food plants need guidance to go through them. That’s why HACCP Coordinators facilitate or assist with third party audits. .
In addition to audits, HACCP coordinators also perform mock recalls.
A mock recall is an internal practice where a facility acts on the premise that a product is not safe for use, such as a contamination or labeling issues. The facility then rehearses what would happen if a real recall occurred. This is a good experiment to know how prepared a facility really is.
HACCP Coordinators train other staff
Typically, there is only one individual which is established as the HACCP Coordinator. But this doesn’t mean that the skills end with them. HACCP Coordinators train and create training material for different facility departments including quality assurance, operations, sanitation and maintenance.
They conduct annual training such as prerequisite training, good manufacturing practice training and food defense training.
HACCP Coordinators stay organized, lead teams and communicate effective
Being a HACCP Coordinator requires a range of skills. However, there are a few which are more essential than others. These skills include:
- Organization – Being organized is a requirement for any HACCP program, so it only makes sense that a HACCP Coordinator is organized as well. HACCP Coordinators are organized because it saves time that would’ve beenspent looking for information. In the world of safety, nothing should ever be lost.
- Leadership – HACCP Coordinators motivate and inspire others in an organization to uphold food safety. They are proactive, lead by example and establish a clear view of what a safe food facility should look like.
- Communication/Interpersonal skills – Being able to communicate is an essential skill needed in teamwork. Staff can’t uphold food safety if they are unaware of what to do. . Coordinators effectively communicate with all levels of operations.