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Opening a Restaurant - HAACP/SOP

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am opening a restaurant and am trying to create HAACPs and SOPs. The gentlemen that I have to work with from the health dept is rude and unhelpful.  I have a few questions:


  1. Where can I find information on the dry Aging of beef? Health dept. Humidity standard? Temperature? Gloves? Apron? Can I also cure other meats in the cooler with the beef?
  2. Do I need SOPs for every menu Item? Monthly Items?
  3. HACCP for storage of confit?
  4. Can I have a generic HACCP for curing meat or do I need one for each one. ie: Sausage, Prosciutto, salami, bacon
  5. Health dept. standards for smoking. Temperature,time, storage?


I Know for the most part what I need to cover. I just cant find if there are any health dept regulations that I have to include in the HAACPs. If someone could point me in the right direction to find answers for these types of questions I would greatly appreciate it. As I said before, the guy at the Environmental Health Dept. is of no help and extremely unprofessional.

post #2 of 5

First, you don't offer specifics but if the health dept. rep is really that unprofessional and rude, he should be reported. Go see his superiors., All the regulations are based on state or federal law. Some agencies post the relevant laws on their web sites, some do not but you should have access to the written laws. In New York State the Department of Agriculture and Markets handles some of the information you seek, and  some NYS health regulations are based on Department of Environmental Conservation rulings. The name of the agencies may be different in your state but all of the information should be publicly available. 

I suspect there may not be specific rules for each item but you should be following general Serv Safe/general sanitary procedures for all items. All foods kept away from the temperature zone of 40 to 140, using gloves for all ready to eat foods, clean food prep surfaces, rapid cooling of hot foods, proper rotation of items, labeling and dating of all products, etc. 

There should be several groups in your state who offer training in basic food service sanitation procedures. The Health Department should be the primary one but not the only one. They are there to insure all establishments are in compliance, to educate the public about these issues and make sure operators of well informed of the standards and practices they need to follow. They are not there to be obnoxious bullies. If the local rep is not helpful, insist that he become so or report him to his superiors. Be professional, courteous and respectful at all times while clearly stating your intentions to educate yourself and be in compliance with the law. 

post #3 of 5

Just thinking about getting a haacp plan passed gives me nightmares.   For some reason our local health department hates cryovac machines and makes it near impossible to get your haacp plan passed if you are using a chamber sealer.   It took us almost a year to get the final approval on ours, and all the difficulty came from vacuum sealing things.

post #4 of 5

I've been going through this process myself.  Its not pleasant.


Each state is free to establish its own food code.  Every state is using a model food code from the FDA, with some state level alterations.  It looks like you are in Michigan, which would be under the 2005 Food Code.  You can find the 2005 food code online.  You should also be able to find what changes have been applied by the State of Michigan.


1.  For dry aging beef, the room temp should be just above freezing and humidity at 85%, and with a constant air flow over the exposed meat.  So no issues there as far as the food code.  But you might want to research this further as to whether its a practice you want to pursue, as there are a number of other issues to consider.  First, the meat can still spoil, so you have to know how to determine this.  Second, there is significant loss of product due to moisture loss and trimming off the outer layer at the end of the process.  Third, only certain cuts and highest grades of beef have the fat content to make this a useful process...generally only Prime grade and then only from the rib, short loin, sirloin, and possibly brisket.  Fourth, it is expensive, once you factor in the lost product, extra labor cost, and the extra storage and equipment needed.  Depending on the type of store you are opening, the cost could be prohibitive as it might place the price points well outside of your potential customers acceptable range.  Fifth, studies show that most Americans are so used to wet aged beef that they generally prefer it now vs dry aged beef.  So you could end up doing this process and taking on all the added expense and charging a high price to put out a product that many customers won't actually prefer.


To be honest, if you are asking the appropriate temperature and humidity for dry aging beef, I'd consider that its not something you've done why try to do this with a new restaurant?  


2.  The Plan Approval for the health board that I'm under wants a copy of the menu and a description of how each item is made.  We are going to give them the basics and very brief descriptions, but not potential daily specials.  They also want the names of all employees, and the make/model number of all the hell are we supposed to know all this beforehand??  So we are going to give them what we can, but once open we aren't going to feel beholden to the initial plan (although everything we do will follow our applicable food code).


3.  Always just kept confit in the walk-in.  Didn't have an HAACP for it.


4.  Per the model food codes, an HAACP is needed for curing meats.  I'd imagine a different one is needed for any differences between steps if products are using different methods, cures, times, etc...


5.  If using smoking as a means of preservation, then an HAACP would be needed.  I don't think one is needed if hot smoking as part of the cooking process.  But if you are going from smoking, to cooling, to reheating for would likely need one then.  

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the responses. They were very helpful. I have dry aged beef and cured meats succesfully for special dinners, just without a HACCP. I was not sure of any federal saftey regulations for temps and humidity other than basic servsafe guidelines. The beef we get is from a local farmer butchered at a small local butcher shop. The quality is not graded but it is definatly closer to prime than today's USDA standard for prime.  The confit will actually be sealed in fat and  aged past the 7 day mark before it is served that is why I think I need  a HAACP.

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