The HACCP system
The HACCP system is a set of procedures and consequent actions, a process control system aimed at ensuring that only safe foods are sold. It is based on risk prevention rather than fighting risk results.
The very basis of the system is the HACCP study, which is based on scientific data, takes into account all stages of activity of an enterprise, identifies possible risks that may arise in foods, such as the development of microorganisms, contamination from remains of undesirable chemicals, foreign matter, etc., and lays down the necessary prevention measures and control points.
The above process points are thoroughly examined to identify those that, if controlled, would limit the possibility of development of the identified hazards in foods, and to single-out the critical ones, namely points where inadequate monitoring would substantially increase the possibility of risk. For all critical control points, relevant monitoring methods and their limits are set out, along with corrective actions to be taken in case of derogation.
The system is supplemented by "working instructions", "documentation files" and "proper system application and effectiveness verification methods". The development, implementation and revision of the HACCP system for AB is carried out by the company’s Quality Assurance department.
The effectiveness of any HACCP system relies on thorough on-going training of those implementing it as well as the constant cooperation and communication of those involved in the food chain.
Implementation of HACCP in ΑΒ
Implementation of the HACCP system in ΑΒ fully covers the supply chain from the point where the company’s Central Warehouses take delivery of foods up to their point of sale.
In ΑΒ’s central warehouses in Athens and Thessaloniki the HACCP system is monitored daily by the Quality Assurance Department which works closely with the executives of the Supply Chain Department to this end. In addition, its implementation is supported by state-of-the-art systems for continuous temperature monitoring and monitoring of other parameters, which are critical points in the sale of safe products.
In ΑΒ stores throughout Greece, the introduction of the HACCP system starts almost in parallel with their operation and includes two distinct, equally important, stages:
- training staff in the procedures they will have to implement. It is noted that particular emphasis is given to those handling food and to the hygiene procedures which they need to steadfastly follow.
- verifying the correct implementation of the HACCP system at regular intervals through independent unannounced on-site inspections at every point of food sale.
The successful introduction of the HACCP system in ΑΒ stores from 2004, when it first began, until the present day, has been assured by the effective cooperation of the HACCP team in every store with the members of the Quality Assurance Department, who supervise and support the stores daily on food hygiene matters.
Verification of the HACCP system in ΑΒ stores
In addition, for the introduction and implementation of the HACCP system in AB Warehouses and AB Stores, verification of its adequacy and effectiveness is carried out at regular intervals every year, through:
- surveys and statistical processing of the results produced by the implementation of required programmes (reports from the Inspection Authorities, results of pest control, etc.)
- on-site inspections aimed at measuring the performance of the procedures
- laboratory tests on food products that are processed or produced in the stores and warehouses in comparison to the standards laid down.
All the above safeguards help keep the HACCP alive, applicable and effective while at the same time constituting a starting point to indicate areas for future improvement.
Certification for the Quality Assurance Department in ΑΒ according to ISO 9001:2008
In 2010, the complicated mechanism for design, development and implementation of the system for food safety management within the framework of the HACCP, as well as the mechanism for maintaining its correct application by the stores was acknowledged for its comprehensiveness by an Independent Body and certified according to International ISO standard ISO 9001:2008.