Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Adding HACCP to Recipes

Knowing what HACCP is is all well and good, but unless you know how to use it, it doesn't really do you any good. If we want to know how to add HACCP support to our software, we need to know what a finished HACCP recipe looks like. I'm going to incorporate the points laid out in my HACCP post with the layout that I used in my post about standardizing recipes.

For brevity, I'm not going to post the original recipe first this time. I'm going to use an old recipe that I posted some time ago for Kai Yang. If you would like to look at the original, complete with all of the flaws that I've talked about, go for it.
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemongrass
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons curry paste
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup lite soy sauce
1 cup veggie stock
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Mix well.
2 pounds dark chicken meat, in piecesAdd chicken and other ingredients to a resealable container.
 CCP: Chill to a temperature of 139F for a period of 6 hours.
 Halfway through the refrigeration process, turn the meat over.
 Remove the meat from the liquid.
 CCP: Because the liquid contained raw meat, discard the liquid as quickly as possible to avoid cross-contamination.
 Mark the chicken on the grill, then place on a sheet pan and move to a 400F oven.
 CCP: Bake the chicken until a thermometer placed into the deepest part of the meat reads 165F.
 CCP: Keep chicken at a temperature of at least 140F until it is served.
 CCP: If chicken is to be stored for service at a later time, chill to a temperature of 139F or lower as quickly as possible, and freeze or refrigerate no warmer than 139F.
 CCP:Chicken that has been chilled for storage should be heated to at least 165F before service, and then kept at a temperature of at least 140F until it is served.
 CCP:Chicken should not be chilled at reheated more than once. If chicken is not consumed after being chilled and reheated once, then it should be discarded.

That's a lot of critical control points, isn't it? And believe me, there could be more. I've decided to simplify, for the purpose of instruction. If NASA was sending my kai yang recipe into space, they would likely have several more steps marked CCP.

You'll notice that many of the CCPs focus on temperatures. This is one of the more critical components of food safety, and something likely to appear in almost every HACCP plan. I've also pointed out things like cross-contamination, and only reheating the product once. Technically you could probably get away with multiple reheatings, but the quality would suffer, and each trip between 41F and 140F (both cooling and heating) would accumulate as additional time that the food spent in the danger zone.

This is just a brief overview of what a recipe with integrated HACCP instructions might look like. Any serious commercial software should take such recipes into consideration, and possibly seek additional information from more experienced sources.

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