All foodservice operations must develop a food safety program. A HACCP requirement for developing a comprehensive program includes developing, documenting, and implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
According to the Guidance for School Food Authorities released by the USDA, “SOPs lay a strong foundation for your overall school food safety program. SOPs are step-by-step written instructions for routine food service tasks that affect the safety of food (‘nonspecific’ hazards), such as proper dishwashing procedures, or for tasks that are a part of the HACCP-based plan (specific hazards), such as proper cooking procedures. Each SOP should include instructions on monitoring, documentation, corrective actions, and periodic review of the procedures they cover. Adherence to SOPs allows food service managers and employees to effectively control and prevent hazards.”
The School Food Authorities (SFA) may develop and have their own SOPs in place. However, if they do not, the USDA developed a series of SOPs that they posted on the National Food Service Management Institute’s (NFSMI) website. These SOPs may be found at http://sop.nfsmi.org/sop_list.php.
The main categories of SOPs are:
All applicable SOPs should be followed for the preparation and service of all menu items. The USDA is developing additional SOPs to be used specifically for food preparation in schools. These SOPs include critical limits, as well as monitoring, corrective action, verification, and recordkeeping procedures.
Foodservice operations must establish monitoring procedures. SOPs must be monitored, controlled, and documented, in writing, in order to help immediately recognize when a control point is out of range, so that a corrective action may be taken. The SOPs will establish what corrective actions should be taken, thereby averting any possible HACCP violations.
All SOP guidelines should be reviewed on an annual basis. For further information on SOPs go to http://sop.nfsmi.org/.
To see how you can automate your SOP requirements, checkout E-Control Systems’ IntelliCheck™ – HACCP Inspection System. The IntelliCheck™ system works in conjunction with our stainless steel temperature probe to get accurate readings of all your critical control points. Simply insert the probe into any of your food items and get an instant reading that will be logged in real time. With our patent pending IntelliCheck™ technology, corrective actions and other preventative maintenance may be taken directly from your iOS device. No more filling out checklists by hand and stuffing them into a filing cabinet. With IntelliCheck™, you simply choose an option on your touchscreen and the system does the rest.
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