When implementing Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), it is difficult to distinguish between monitoring, verification and validation.
Monitoring is the process of checking to ensure a set limit is met, recording that this monitoring activity occurred and the results.
Verification is the process of ensuring the correct monitoring procedures took place.
Validation is the process of ensuring the set limits control the hazard.
Monitoring is the act of:
- conducting a planned sequence of observations or measurements in order to control parameters,
- assessing if the Critical Control Point (CCP) or pre-requisite program is under control, and
- producing an accurate record on the monitoring activity.
When monitoring a task, the steps outlined in the written program must be followed exactly as written. All findings must be recorded on the record, including any corrective action or preventative measures (actions taken to correct the problem and to prevent it from reoccurring).
- Example: Every 15 minutes, place a calibrated digital thermometer in the centre of the product as it leaves the oven. Check three pieces of product on both sides and in the centre of the oven every 15 minutes to ensure it is reaching an internal temperature of 71°C. Record the product temperature on a cook temperature sheet.
Verification is the act of applying the methods, procedures, tests and other evaluations, to determine if monitoring tasks are in compliance with the HACCP system.
- Record Verification - review of records for completeness. Ensure records have been filled out correctly and that the monitor has initiated corrective actions/preventative measures as required.
- Example: Review the cook temperature sheet at the end of each production day to ensure it has been filled out completely, correct temperatures have been met and, if required, corrective actions and preventative measures were carried out appropriately.
- Onsite Verification - Observe and/or interview personnel to ensure monitoring tasks are completed as outlined in the written program and, in the event of a deviation or problem, the monitoring personnel knows the steps to take to correct the problem.
- Example: Ensure that the correct procedure is followed, observe an employee as they check the temperature of product and record it on the cook temperature sheet. Interview the employee to ensure they know the procedure to follow in the event of a deviation.
Validation is obtaining confirmation that the elements of the HACCP system are effective in controlling biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Validation may include, but is not limited to, literature searches, validation studies (setting up an in-house validation study), and/or review of regulations (regulations are validated for you). Validation may have to take place at different times of the year due to environmental change in the facility or surrounding the facility, such as the change of seasons. Be sure to take into account all factors when creating a validation system.
- Example (regulations) - The process of proving that the internal temperature reaching 71°C will kill E.coli 0157:H7, or other bacteria of concern in the product. This may require a validation study. If the limit to be met is a regulation, it does not have to be validated, since the limit was validated in the creation of the regulation.
- Example (equipment) - If you are cooking product, you will have to validate that your equipment is capable of cooking the product evenly and consistently. If you were cooking meatballs through an impingement oven, you would have to validate that the meatballs coming out of the oven have a consistent temperature across the oven. If the oven has a cold spot, then product testing would have to be completed where the cold spot exists to ensure that all products reach the required temperature.
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