September is National Food Safety Education Month

One of the first questions we ask all culinary managers we interview for any position at NEXDINE is, what is HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)? The answers often tell us about the food safety experience the candidate has and whether they are a good fit for NEXDINE.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic approach to hazard identification, assessment of risk, and control. Identifying the areas where we can affect and control the growth of bacteria and viruses in food and control contamination of food by physical particles or chemicals.  HACCP should always be used by all facilities in the food industry to ensure that all food that is consumed is safe to eat.

HACCP originated in the 1960s, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Pillsbury Company, collaborated to provide safe food for upcoming space expeditions. It was decided that NASA’s engineering management requirements called, Critical Control Points, would be used as a guideline for this food safety initiative. Critical Control Points (CCP) are used to evaluate weapons and engineering systems’ reliability throughout the military.  NASA and Pillsbury were able to hire experts in food science to identify and eliminate the “critical failure areas” in the food processing procedures.  The result was the hazard analysis critical control point system, flow charts which are used to monitor the flow of the food product from growth to consumption.  In our operations, we often say that HACCP identifies the critical control points between receiving and service. Prior to receiving, our manufacturers and distributors are required to have a HACCP system they follow to ensure the product they deliver to us is safe. Therefore, it is important to only use NEXDINE-approved distributors our corporate resources have identified as having the proper HACCP controls in place to ensure a safe food supply to NEXDINE.

After the success of NASA providing safe food for their space expeditions, Pillsbury had a recall on a product called Farina, which is a cereal used in infant food. They were finding glass pieces and remnants in the food, which caused contamination. Leadership at Pillsbury decided that they should use the HACCP program continuously to provide a safe product to all consumers.  It was a remarkable success for Pillsbury. As a result, HACCP quickly became the gold standard for food manufacturers’ food safety programs.  Then in 1993 one of the worst outbreaks of E coli occurred within the Jack in the Box restaurant chain sickening over seven hundred, hospitalizing many, and killing four children. As a result of the outbreak, Jack in the Box became the first restaurant chain to introduce HACCP as part of their food safety systems and training. Today, Jack in the Box has one of the gold standards of food safety of all restaurant chains because of HACCP.

After the Jack in the Box incident, the Food and Drug Administration quickly began recommending that HACCP be part of all restaurant and food service operations.  Many states created laws requiring HACCP programs to be implemented in all food service establishments.  It was also the time when Serve Safe (established in 1919) the National Restaurant Associations leading food safety program began teaching HACCP as part of their program.  At NEXDINE we encourage all colleagues to become certified with Serve Safe to ensure they have a full understanding of food safety and HACCP.

The HACCP program creates a systematic approach to controlling food safety in all our NEXDINE operations.  From receiving, storage, preparation, cooking, holding, and serving of the outstanding fresh food we create, the HACCP program ensures we do it all safely by identifying the control points where we can best affect the safety of the food we serve.

If you have any questions on how you or your staff can become Serve Safe certified, please reach out to Debra Lanci