HACCP Chemical Hazards
Potential HACCP Chemical Hazards are any chemical which is not intended to be included your products or not intended to be at the level it is found at. In some cases these may cause injury if consumed (a hazard). To reduce the risk of chemical hazards, a risk assessment as part of the HACCP or Safer Food Better Business study should be conducted
Chemical hazards may include cleaning chemicals, agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and poisons/toxins from other sources.
HACCP Chemical Hazard Risk Assessment
To conduct a chemical risk assessment for HACCP, first consider the types of chemical in your production.
- Naturally occurring chemicals.
- Intentionally added chemicals
- Unintentionally added chemicals, as well as those added incidentally.
Naturally occurring chemicals
Many naturally occurring chemicals are found in food. Although many toxins are naturally occurring, they are chemical in origin and fall under the classification of chemical hazards. Examples are the toxins created when nuts are mouldy (aflatoxins) or some types of fish spoil (histamine). Some shellfish produce chemicals that are toxic to humans but not the shellfish.
Some chemicals are used in food intentionally, but can be toxic at higher than typical concentrations. These include nitrite used in curing meats and Vitamin A.
Unintentionally added chemicals could be cleaning chemicals, incorrectly used and animal medicines such as antibiotics. There are monitoring programmes in the UK for meat with a large number of medicines and chemicals such as heavy metals tested for and reported.
Incidental chemicals may also include those that have migrated from plastic packaging, or other contact materials.
Heavy metals – Land/ Water resource used which is contaminated by heavy metals can result in the uptake of unacceptable levels in food e.g. mercury in fish.
Medicines – must be used judiciously. Animals must be withdrawn from any medication for the statutory withdrawal period. If this does not happen, there may be residues which enter the food chain.
Pesticides – used at uncontrolled levels can leave residues in food.
Cleaning chemicals, maintenance chemicals and agricultural chemicals can all cause injury if not handled correctly.
Tip: Have you got your COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) documentation and controls in order and are your chemicals locked away?