Friday, June 6, 2014

Is HACCP only Applicable to Professionals?



In part 1 of this subject, I explained the paper work involved in practicing HACCP professionally. 
If identifying all these critical control points is so important to ensure food safety standards, what happens when all these carefully taken measures are done away with at home?

Well, as a consumer we trust the manufacturer, especially when they have a HACCP logo on their packaging label. When we come home after the purchase, we open the packaging. Maybe we use a part of it, store the balance in the refrigerator and that is it. 

Let us look at this example.  When a manufacturer uses a table model can opener and the internal part of the opener (where the knife is placed) is rusty, this becomes a critical control point by HACCP standards and the manufacturer will be required to rectify this Critical Control Point by replacing the can opener with one made of full stainless steel.

Practicing HACCP at Home                                                                   

When we have the same issue at home, there is no more issue. Because 
nobody realizes or notices that some rust in a can opener is actually not too good for you and your family.
Surely we all hold the health of our family at heart. Practicing full HACCP at home is unthinkable. We simply do not do that. 
Practicing good hygiene and keeping some of the HACCP principles in mind is however a good idea.

Re-packing is a good practice, when you use part of a product from a can, you will not be able to close the can again. If that is the case place the balance content of the used can in a vacuum pouch and vacuum. 
If it is liquid (soup for example), you can freeze the balance in the pouch and vacuum after freezing.


Most if not all of products available in the market can be treated this way. Products bought in jars, cans and other types of packaging. The products do not only stay in better condition but their shelf life is prolonged and they will not be subjected to hazardous bacteria that accumulate on the inside of jar lids and lids of half opened cans anymore. 
When you pre- prepare foods before vacuuming, ensure that your work station is clean and that you do not mix raw and cooked food products. Clean chopping boards and utensils before use and when you switch from meat to fish to fruit to vegetables. Best is to use dedicated chopping boards but not everyone does or can do that.  

Find your Vacuum Sealer

Keep your vacuum sealer clean especially the seal strip. It is likely you do not use the vacuum sealer everyday and it is therefore important that hazardous bacteria have no accumulation opportunities during storage of the machine.
Applying HACCP principles will help you to achieve better home cooking practices. Your vacuum sealer is a perfect tool and aids you again.

The question was:

Is HACCP applicable at home? Yes it is, nobody expects you to fill in all the forms like manufacturers are required to do. The main principle of HACCP is food safety and that is something that can be achieved. 

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn


Annie Peters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie Peters said...

Great article, Marinus! Thank you for sharing these tips for successful home vacuum sealing. I've been considering purchasing a Vacupack. I think it is a great way to save money on food costs long-term. I'm very surprised to learn that you can seal liquid food. What a great idea! It's much more sanitary than keeping soup or broth in the aluminum can. I've read that bacteria can begin to form on packaging within a matter of hours. Also, I appreciate your tip about keeping the seal strip clean. Is there a particular cleaning liquid you would recommend? Is it safe to use a bleach solution?

Thiago daLuz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marinus said...

The best way to clean the sealing strip is with a dish washing detergent, nothing that can deteriorate the teflon tape.

A bleach solution is therefore not advisable

I strongly advise not to keep balance food in open cans. The dried up patches you see on open cans are full of bacteria.
In my food processing time we had all our recipes designed per the contents of the cans we used like tomatoes and so on.
I advise therefore portioning per serving size which works great with a vacuum sealer because you decide on the size of the portion.
Custom made packaging!

Rebecca said...

Vacuum sealers are a great investment. I just purchased one a year ago, and it gets a lot of use. They’re great for safe short-term food storage. @Annie – I use mine all the time for liquids. I frequently vacuum pack soup and freeze it. When I’m ready, I take out the portion I need from the freezer and boil it right in the bag. It’s convenient and tastes freshly made.

Andrea Robinson said...

I bought a home vacuum sealing system for some friends as a Christmas gift awhile back, but they never even tried it and unfortunately, their kitchen area did not improve. :(

I really try to preserve my leftovers, but freezing them isn't always practical. If I were to vacuum seal them before freezing, does that do anything to prevent freezer burn? And can you tell me what causes freezer burn in the first place?

Also, from the pictures, it looks like it is a lot easier to identify what's in the bag if you vacuum seal it first. Is that true?

Thanks for another good article.

Mandy said...

These are some practical tips. I remember my mom telling me when I was very little that you should never keep extra food in a can. When I moved out on my own, she bought me a set of glass containers with plastic lids.

I have very limited space in my freezer and have been thinking about trying a vacuum packer as a way to save space and money. This post makes me realize it would be an investment in food safety, too.

Sammy said...

“If it is liquid (soup for example), you can freeze the balance in the pouch and vacuum after freezing.” This is a clever idea! I’ve always had such trouble trying to figure out ways of vacuum sealing liquid food items. I will try this net time.

Sharon said...

Are there any HACCP standards that you feel would be particularly beneficial for at home food preparation?

Marinus said...

Andrea, freezer burn occurs due to dehydration and oxidation of food when stored in a freezer.
Dehydration happens when cold air from your freezer gets in contact with your food.
Preventing air from reaching your food (vacuuming) prevents air from reaching your food and with that freezer burn. On your second question, Yes it easier to identify vacuum frozen food compared to non vacuumed frozen food.My advise is that labeling is best, especially when you vacuum pre-prepared cooked food that may be difficult to identify. You may have cooked two or three similar meals than labeling makes it easy to identify the contents

Marinus said...

Work clean, do not mix raw and cooked food, vacuum only cold food (temperature control, and the use of separate chopping blocks for raw and cooked food are very important rules to follow, bacterial cross contamination occurs very easily without you knowing it.
Next is not to keep half opened packets, cans and jars too long,I mean longer than 2 or three days (portioning control)

Andrea Robinson said...

Thanks for the info, Marinus! You're the best.