- Health and Safety Consultants & Training
- Construction & Environmental Specialist Advice
- United Kingdom
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Construction & Environmental Specialist Advice / Health and Safety Consultants & Training
5 Mar 2012
- United Kingdom
Everyone struggles to understand verification procedures, even experts. The more you find out about it, the less you realise you know. This is not surprising as Principle 6 Verification is perhaps the most complex.
So where does everyone struggle? I believe there are 4 main areas of concern; they are:
• The need to verify and validate a HACCP plan is not fully understood
• No real understanding of what verification and validation means
• Confusion over the difference between verification and validation
• Mixing up verification and validation with Principle 4 routine monitoring activities.
The first reason I listed, why do we need to verify our HACCP is fairly easy to resolve, but we first need to know what these terms mean. This is best achieved by asking what is it these words are asking us to do.
Verification asks: Is what should be done, getting done?
Validation asks: Is this the right thing to do? Does it still work?
Let’s consider validation practically.
Before you use you HACCP plan for the first time or following a procedural change you must find out if your plan complies with the law and that the measures being used will control all food hazards. This is easy if you have chosen to use SFBB, CookSafe or Safe Catering. In these systems all the controls have been validated by experts in food safety and approved by the food standard agency, i.e. they have done the testing, experimenting, or statistical analysis, that prove the elements of the HACCP plan are working effectively.
If you writing your own HACCP plans it become your responsibility to validate them, let’s see how you could do this through experimentation.
Imagine you run a small restaurant, and make up your own soup in batches, but do not have a blast chiller. You know from your food hygiene course that you need to cool your soups quickly so you cannot continue to allow soups to cool overnight in the kitchen. To ensure the soup cools quickly, you create some rules for your staff to follow.
1. Follow cooking times in recipe for the soup.
2. Once the soup has been cooked sufficiently, remove from heat and allow to rest (you can do this because whilst the soup is warmer than 63˚C it is outside the danger zone).
3. Once the soup following stirring drops just below 80˚C (temperatures above 80˚C can cause serious burns) divide the soup into two cold smaller metallic containers.
4. Move the soup out of the warm kitchen into the cooler cellar area.
5. Stir soup every 30 minutes with a clean spoon.
6. After 4 hours, transfer to fridge.
The controls appear sensible but will they work. It is time to validate the process.
You decide to set up an experiment, using your calibrated digital temperature probe, a watch and graph paper. You will cook the soup as normal, but this time measure the temperature following cooking, resting, then every hour in the cellar and just before you transfer it to the fridge.
Looking at the results you are able to see that the soup was in the