Hygiene code based on HACCP? Anyone has something set up?
I've been baking on a small scale for the last year and have been selling occasionally. We're making things a bit more professional and scaling things up a little bit coming months.
As part of this, I want to make sure I'm conforming to (European) HACCP regulations (which the hygiene . The bakery association here in The Netherlands charges (a few hundred €) for a hygiene code based on HACCP, which I'm not willing to pay (at least, not yet). HACCP is fairly generic, so doesn't offer clear and concise guidelines or anything.
My wife has a university background in all of this, so she will be doing some guidelines and checklists for me based on HACCP to make sure I'm okay with what's required. I'll try and share these when they're done.
In the meantime, does anybody have something that works for them? Check lists, processes, et cetera?
Here in the US the states regulate and enforce health standards. In Vermont where I live, the Vermont Department of Health licenses establishments that sell food products to the public. They have both guidelines for your build-out and routine inspections for compliance. Participation is not an option and you would be subject to civil penalties if you operated without a license, or if your license was revoked.
I would be happy to email you their standards in .pdf form if you send me a private message with your email address.
I worked with and developed HACCP plans in the US for many years as a chef for a food manufacturer. A HACCP plan is your way of documenting what you think are your critical control points in your products manufacturing. My plans were overseen by the USDA inspector who came through the plant daily to make sure I was following what I had in my plans for all the various products I made. What you also want is your SOP or standard operating procedures, this is what makes sure you are running a hygienic working environment. These two things run hand in had as part of HACCP.
...and so unlikely to be wildly different from The Netherlands. There's an excellent breakdown of HACCP and CCPs here. I used it to help build my plans.
I also had to do a food safety and hygiene course. Online. No big deal. In addition, I needed a inspector to approve my premises. Again, no big deal for bakers unless you plan to include lots of raw chicken into your bread. :)
In my limited experience, HACCPs for a micro-bakery are very straightforward compared to most other food businesses. Just do a separate plan for each baked group (for example: bread, laminates, cakes) rather than all your individual products. It will save you a huge amount of time, but don't forget to do ingredient HACCPs (creme pats, batters etc-anything with eggs). You'll also need HACCPs for every step of the production process: supply purchase, storage, ovens, fridge/freezer breakdown, waste disposal etc. To do this draw up a template with the Seven Points of HACCP (see link above). Save and rename for each of the plans then treat each as a checklist of what you need to do. Best to do this AFTER the food safety course. Print them off and put them in a binder. Hard copy is very important. I went through mine with the food hygiene inspector, who made some suggestions and improvements. Again, all very friendly.
As long as you don't get overly detailed, it's not too time-consuming. It took me a morning to do all mine then an hour to make the changes the inspector suggested. If you're finding the HACCP concept too vague (it certainly attracts jargon and blah-speak like flies to a poison strip) think of it as a standard way of laying out the advice you'd give to someone taking over your bakery for a day: what to do, when to do it, and what not to do.
I don't run my microbakery with a HACCP plan as such - I use the UK's Safer Food, Better Business plan which is designed for smaller operations, so maybe there is something similar in .nl ? The local inspectors sent me a copy of the pack with DVD and diary after their very first visit. It's very easy to use... I followed the stuff in the pack - it's sort of self-assesment, filled in the boxes, etc. and keep a daily diary.