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HACCP & AMC

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Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) & Active Management Control (AMC)

For Foodservice, ®). Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. A food quality assurance system that identifies, evaluates and controls potentially hazardous foods and handling practices in the food industry. A HACCP plan is a written document based on HACCP principles to insure the safe delivery of food.">HACCP is the process to identify and prioritize risks and establish an integrated system of interventions. Active Managerial Control is the implementation and supervision of food safety practices to control risk factors by the person-in-charge (PIC).

HACCP has taken the teachings of Dr. Edward Deming and effectively applied them to food safety. Dr. Deming's theories first led Japan and then the world in improving automobile quality at all price points. HACCP in the food processing industry, where the machine is king, has been an unqualified success in raising world food quality. Applying HACCP in foodservice, where entry level labor is king, requires further understanding of the worker, his/her motivation and a written, reproducible process to follow, 24/7.

HACCP - the seven steps:

  1. Analyze hazards.
  2. Identify critical control points.
  3. Establish preventive measures with critical limits for each control point.
  4. Establish procedures to monitor the critical control points.
  5. Establish corrective actions to be taken when monitoring shows that a critical limit has not been met.
  6. Establish procedures to verify that the system is working properly
  7. Establish effective recordkeeping to document the HACCP system.

ref: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/bghaccp.html

AMC provides the framework to convert the often frustrated, well-educated network of regulators into a motivated corps, a national treasure, serving primarily as assessors/consultants and secondarily as agents of enforcement. Coupled with inspections based on Active Management versus “Facility Inspections," the relationship between the operator and the regulator is transformed into one of a partnership with the common goal of public health.

AMC focused Health Department Inspections

AMC is a collaborative process between the sanitarian and the restaurant manager to assess food production systems for foodborne illness risk factors and identify their strategies to actively control them. Active managerial control of foodborne illness risk factors in a restaurant's daily operations encourages long-term behavior change that are critical to prevent foodborne illness.

The First Step - Scheduling the Inspection: Scheduling the inspection is the cornerstone of the management systems review. Anywhere from a day to a couple weeks in advance, the sanitarian calls the manager and makes an appointment to review and learn the restaurant's policies for safe food production. The sanitarian describes the process: the sit-down portion of the visit may take up to an hour to complete followed by a review of the facility and observing food preparation in the kitchen to see how closely the management systems correlate with the operating conditions It is important to schedule the inspection during a time the business is open and food preparation can be observed.

Scheduling the visit removes several barriers and the "catch-em doing something wrong" attitude that have kept both the sanitarian and restaurant manager from identifying and solving food safety problems. It provides the opportunity to build trust, and creates an atmosphere where both parties can openly discuss methods and improvements that can help achieve the shared goal of preventing illness.

The Discussion Portion of the Visit: Once at the restaurant, the management systems review process begins with a discussion. Using a series of open-ended questions, the sanitarian learns about the restaurant's management systems. Sitting next to the manager encourages open dialogue and sharing of information. Questions are encouraged. Careful listening is a must.

Our experience has shown that this discussion builds trust. From this trust, sanitarians develop an understanding of business management and food production issues, and restaurant managers learn more about food safety.

Reviewing the Management Systems: Specific questions are focused on high risk foods and procedures that may lead to a foodborne illness if not practiced safely. For example, to learn about the management system for food worker personal hygiene, the sanitarian asks the manager questions about employee handwashing, such as:

  • Who trains the new employees about hand washing?
  • What do they tell the new employee about when and how to wash their hands?
  • Who makes sure there is enough hot water, soap, paper towels and a nailbrush at each hand wash sink? and 
  • What do you do when someone does not wash their hands at the proper time?

This process reveals management systems that cannot be seen during a traditional inspection.

The Menu and Food Flows: Reviewing the menu and conducting a food flow of a complex menu item is another way hazards are identified. If a step in the process poses a risk for illness, immediate corrections are made and specific long-term solutions that work for the manager are developed. 

Food safety education: Education is an integral part of the process. Each food service manager receives a Food Safety Manual and Log. Each page of the manual focuses on one food safety topic and can be used as a poster or for food worker training. The sanitarian also offers to provide customized food worker training to address weaknesses discovered and re-enforce the manager's training efforts.

The Walk-Thru: The walk-thru is an opportunity for the sanitarian, restaurant manager, and food workers to see if the systems discussed earlier are actually being practiced and identify other system indicators that can't be identified through discussion. High risk conditions such as unsafe personal hygiene, cross-contamination, and unsafe cooking or cooling procedures are the focus of the walk-thru. Food workers are engaged during the process to learn the extent the systems are implemented on a daily basis. Food worker participation increases the likelihood of buy-in and long-term improvements.

The Wrap-up: The risk factors identified during the management systems review process are reviewed with the manager and the safe practices that are clearly in place are re-enforced.  Emphasis is placed on the continuous improvement in their systems through active managerial control of the risk factors and applying the principles learned to the entire operation. The sanitarian completes the report on-site and leaves a copy with the manager.

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