All food service operations must develop a food safety program. A HACCP requirement for developing a comprehensive program includes developing, documenting, and implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
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:
- General Safety Considerations
- Product Procurement
- Cooking and Documenting Temperatures
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/.
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