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Dining out in Space: HACCP Style

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Krista Fredrick | August 1, 2013

Dining out in Space: HACCP Style

In 1959, the evolution of the HACCP Food Safety program began for astronauts embarking into space. As it is on planet earth, astronauts also needed to be protected from food-borne illnesses, because the dining experience, must less the food was obviously going to be quite different than what Earthlings were use too. In the beginning, NASA did not know how food would react in zero degree gravity and wanted to ensure that their astronauts had safe food that was nearly 100 percent free from contamination of any biological microbial, chemical, or physical hazard.

So NASA, started its journey by reaching out to the Pillsbury Company and the United States Army Laboratories for help with the project.  In order to ensure safety this meant that the food product had to be analyzed and tested from all aspects.  In the early days of Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury,  the Pillsbury Company was able to provide scrumptious freeze dried snacks and prepared meals in pouches. The success of these early culinary innovations and processes would eventually lead to development of HACCP.

HACCP or the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, uses a systems approach to inspect finished food products, identify hazards, and risks and define the means for their control.  Before HACCP, food safety was reactive meaning that often if there was a food safety issue, such as a food causing a food borne illness, it was after the fact.  Today, HACCP has led to the development of shelf-stable foods for home-bound individuals, materials and packaging techniques for food on grocery shelves, hot plates in hospitals, and even components in infant formula.

All food service companies in the meat and poultry, seafood, or juice industries are required to have a mandatory HACCP program in place for each product manufactured by the company to ensure that it is safe to eat.   In order to develop a HACCP program,  a team must be assembled to include individuals from food safety, food quality and food processing operations.  For each product, the team must draw a flow diagram displaying all incoming ingredients, processing, packing and storage steps and techniques. Once this process is complete then each of the seven fundamental principles below is applied to the flow diagram for each product:

  • Principle 1:    Perform and Analyze a Hazard Analysis
  • Principle 2:    Determine Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  • Principle 3:    Establish Critical Limits for Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  • Principle 4:    Monitor Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  • Principle 5:    Take Corrective Action
  • Principle 6:    Keep Records of CCP Monitoring
  • Principle 7:    Verify that the HACCP Plan Works

If you are a food service company, a grocery store or even a food manager, taking a HACCP Food Safety Training course will enable you to learn more about these seven principles and will allow you to develop and implement monitoring procedures to guarantee food safety.

The Learn2Serve Food Safety HACCP for Retail Food Establishment course is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance and will present the characteristics and application of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) which is a a risk prevention management methodology that applies appropriate science and technology to plan, control, and document safe food processes in a food facility, consistent with the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) desire to implement voluntary HACCP.

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