HACCP stands forHazard Analysis Critical Control Point. The meaning of hccp includes all those activities that concern the safety of food and its preparations, both gastronomic and industrial.
It is a certificate aimed at ensuring the hygienic and edible safety of food, which must be achieved through a hccp course not only by those working in the restaurant or commercial sector (cooks, caterers, bartenders, butchers, food processors), but also by drivers, who may come into contact with unpackaged food during transportation. Upon completion of the studies, an hccp certificate is issued
The subject is regulated by Legislative Decree 193/07, according to which self-hygiene inspection is required in all public establishments and food industries.
Specifically, it is expected that the person in charge of the business will ensure an adequate degree of hygiene with regard to all processes involving food: manufacture, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution, preparation, handling, sale and serving.
According to the guidelines, the following principles must be followed to develop an effective self-control plan on food safety:
Identification of risks inherent in the various processes to which food is subjected; the goal in this regard is to prevent, eliminate or in the worst cases reduce any ‘hazards’. Identification of Critical Control Points (CCPs) and steps where action can be taken to prevent, eliminate or limit the risk. Defining the limits of acceptability of risks present within the CCPs. Definition of health monitoring procedures for CCPs. Preparation of corrective solutions where necessary.
Establishment of verification procedures to monitor the effectiveness and proper functioning of the adopted solutions. Preparation of company documentation (nature and size) and HACCP plan.
HACCP Course Topics.
The topics of the course are related to proper behavior on safe food preparation and handling, the following are the topics mostly covered.
The importance of hygiene compliance: personal care is essential to avoid contaminating food with our microorganisms, which are normally present on the skin (hands, nose) and in the mouth. Attention must be paid, therefore, to the personal hygiene of each individual attendant.
During the course, the correct way to wash hands, control cutting and cleaning nails, not to wear accessories such as rings, watches, earrings and bracelets, and to keep hair, beard and mustache tidy are explained as all of these can be vehicles for contamination of viruses and bacteria.
Clothing to be used: the clothing of each individual worker should be changed frequently and always be clean. Clothing should be light-colored in order to immediately highlight stains and traces of dirt. Attention should also be paid to shoes, which should be used only within the work environment and of the accident-prevention type.
Awareness of one’s health status: employees are also instructed not to report to work if they have symptoms involving the intestines, throat or epidermis. Workers must see a doctor, and if found to be positive for any virus, they cannot work in contact with food.
Practices to avoid food spoilage: Alterations in food can occur through physical contamination (fragments of various materials such as metals, glass, hair, hair, nails, insects), chemical contamination (residues of chemicals such as sanitizers, additives, lubricants and any other substance not inherent to the food environment) or biological contamination (formation of molds, bacteria, parasites and viruses). Useful knowledge will be imparted to the worker to minimize any kind of contamination.
Methods of cleaning and sanitizing: with the lecturer, all cleaning and sanitizing of rooms and equipment and the related products to be used are viewed.
All other HACCP procedures to be followed: such as: food storage, product traceability, pest control and rodent control; allergens.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the HACCP course can be conducted traditionally in the classroom, with proper spacing and caution, or it can be conducted either in the E-learning or video-conferencing mode .
How long is the validity of the HACCP certificate?
The specific European Regulation on food hygiene (852/04) does not define the modalities (time and frequency of refresher training) of the training, but provides that:
employees are supervised and/or have received training and/or education, in food hygiene, related to the type of activity;
the requirements of national legislation on training programs for people working in certain food sectors are met. In Italy, training is legislated by the regions, so each region determines duration and validity.
The Veneto Region by Official Bulletin no. 27 of 22/03/2013 abolished the health record ex. R.L. 41/2003 (which provided for the type and duration of the course) and deferred to the provisions of the procedures in the HACCP manual prepared by each individual company.
The Region, through also the ULSS Companies, advises and urges participation in specific courses, lasting 3 hours, with three-yearly renewal. The update will include, specific insights, treatment of new issues and possible regulatory revisions.
According to D.L.gs. 193/2007, failure to comply with hygiene regulations and failure to train are punishable by fines ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 euros, but that is not why we give value and importance to this course.
All the subjects covered during the HACCP course are applicable not only in the work environment but also in our private lives, improving our approach to food preparation and storage and thus our daily lives.