Paperless HACCP Plans: The Value of Food Safety Software

by Karine Lawrence, Sirocco Food + Wine

Food safety specialists working in industry know that developing and maintaining a HACCP-based food safety program requires a significant amount of administrative paperwork. With pressures to go paperless coupled with increasing regulatory and industry requirements, more and more food businesses are turning to computer solutions to manage food safety and automate document control. Advances in computing technology make it possible to purchase affordable food safety software packages, tools that only a few businesses could afford in the past.

A surprisingly large number of e-solutions designed to monitor HACCP plans and other Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) are now available on the market. Modular or integrated packages fit specific business needs for document control and records management. Intelex’s HACCP management software includes both document and record control with a graphing interface that is used to track important metrics. While HACCP Manager Software (South Coast Business Solutions) is compliant with Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards, SafetyChain for FoodTM software (Safetychain Software) references the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and addresses product traceability.

Besides on-premise computer solutions, reliable cloud-based applications, available on both PC and tablets, present an affordable option to small food and beverage manufacturers. Amongst such products is Icicle, a food safety application distributed by Vancouver company Burton Software Inc. Last February, the company received a large government grant to commercial the innovative software.

Food safety experts have long predicted that the use of databases would be essential to manage global food safety risks. Information systems in the form of databases are designed to capture, store and retrieve data in a structured fashion.1 Databases also permit data analysis for tracking and trending. When they are integrated with email, these systems allow for effective and secure communication with stakeholders, thereby enabling decision making in real time. They also permit automated tracking and validation of information including change control by approved users through the use of access rules and authenticated signatures. Not only are they readily available and accessible, but also they can be updated and improved easily.

Combined with user-friendly interfaces that reference regulatory requirements and/or international food safety standards, food safety software packages provide a great tool to facilitate the development and the documentation of HACCP plans and pre-requisite programs. Users follow a step-by-step approach to conduct full hazard analyses according to the Codex Critical Control Point (CCP) decision tree. The same structured approach is employed to create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for CCP monitoring and pre-requisite programs: users are prompted to enter information sequentially following a template that reflects best industry practices.

Sirocco Food+Wine Consulting recently enjoyed the opportunity to review a demo of Burton Software Inc’s Icicle. For a small annual access fee, the cloud-based software allows the development of a complete and paperless HACCP plan and pre-requisite programs with minimal training. Compliant with Canada FSEP and adaptable to ISO22000 requirements, the software features an inspection menu tab that enables authorised users to generate the equivalent of electronic work orders. Under this menu, users may also customise inspection forms. The system allows the monitoring of multiple paperless HACCP plans specific to one or more manufacturing facilities…continue reading at the Sirocco Consulting website…

About Sirocco Food and Wine Consulting

Sirocco Food and Wine Consulting specializes in delivering technical consulting services including Food Safety Management System implementation (HACCP, SQF, Preventive Controls for Human Food) as well as Sensory Testing of food, wine and other beverages. They focus on science and statistical evaluation to translate data into value for our clients. Learn more at their website.

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