Posted: June 20th, 2021
Recent studies in the UK and Europe found that the use of HACCP is widespread in larger food companies but is limited in small companies. The meaning of the term “small and/or less developed businesses” (SLDBs) are businesses that lack of technical expertise and economic resources due to their sizes and encounter problems in implementing HACCP in their food business. The term “less developed business” refers to the status of the food safety management system and not to the number of staff or volume of production. HACCP is not legally required internationally but at most of the region.
There are a number of certain external conditions such as regulations and market forces have increased the pressure on small business to implement HACCP. In the past, small food business was not encouraged to apply HACCP as it is too complex and costly for them. However, as the concern of public health issue is getting more attention from both authorities and consumer, small business companies might be required to apply HACCP in the future.
There are some benefits might be gained and barriers to overcome when implementing HACCP in small business as they do not have large capital and only small number of staffs available. However, the principle of HACCP can be applied to any size of food product manufacturing or processing business as long as the food operators are adequately trained and given with some guidance and assistance.
There are a number of barriers hinder the food business owner to implement HACCP in their own companies. However, the identified problems should be able to overcome if they seek assistance and guidance from HACCP consultancy. Some common problems are listed below and methods to overcome the barriers are provided. 1. Cost Constraint
Financial capital constraint could be a major barrier for small business to implement HACCP practically. These constraints could include the insufficiently provision of grants from government or the small financial capital available from business itself. However, one should not only look at the cost in implementing HACCP. By implementing HACCP, long term saving will also have to take into account as this could be achieved by:
* Avoiding cost of food recall which caused by food borne outbreak * Avoiding litigation cost by preventing failure of food safety * Reducing waste and spoilage by improving food handling and waste management Economic constraint could be minimized by ensuring the available financial resources are utilized efficiently and wisely. This could be achieved by: * Developing a general HACCP implementation plan which covered common components of HACCP and could be applied to all business in a sector * Implementing HACCP with different stages and steps over a period of time which good hygiene practice should be first in place and followed by HACCP. 2. Human resource constraint
Small company normally has only limited access to information of HACCP and lacks of specific training. This is one of the major barriers facing when implementing HACCP in SLDBs as proper HACCP plan could not be done if ones lack of basic understanding and training of HACCP. This barrier could be solved by: * Providing specific personnel training to ensure food operators and handlers have an understanding to HACCP. * Developing a HACCP plan which is user friendly and not full of jargons.
Benefits It has no doubt that a lot of benefits will be gained from HACCP implementation. Therefore, small businesses are encouraged to develop and implement a HACCP system in their company. There are a few benefits listed below which in include:
1. Confidence built up
Companies which have a HACCP plan in place and being certified will have a thoroughly understanding of food safety issues. This in turn affects their company and confidence in products. Their confidence will be built up and able to challenge and negotiate with authorities or auditors when they are informed they might involve in case of food borne outbreak and required to held food recall. This not only prevents companies from financial lost but also helps in improving the products by use of knowledge to review and refine the process of food.
2. Reduced production cost
HACCP implementation is a way of long term saving. This could be achieved by: * Avoiding cost of food recall which caused by food borne outbreak * Avoiding litigation cost by preventing failure of food safety * Reducing waste and spoilage by improving food handling and waste management
3. Increased market access
HACCP is clearly beneficial to those companies which seek for market expansion. It is essential to have a HACCP system in place that if ones want to provide supply to large retailer such as supermarket whose contract normally requires a documentation of HACCP system from supplier. Therefore, having HACCP system will increase the market value of companies and opportunities of making wealth.
4. Increased product safety and consistency
Product safety and consistency can be maintained by implementing HACCP system which the process time and temperature are strictly required to be followed. This in turn helps to build up the reputation of company where the safety and quality of products are assured.
Small business is highly encouraged to have HACCP system in place in order to produce safe and high quality food. There might be some problems facing when implementing HACCP in small business, however, small business operators could always seek guidance and assistance from food safety consultancy which would provide expertise knowledge and technical support.
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