How to take the plunge and not get SOAKED

June 21, 2023
Retail Bakers

Thinking of building a HACCP plan?

You just got a new account or a new Health Inspector or the bank is asking about your Food Safety Program and a hundred additional good reasons. However, you have heard horror stories from friends about how much money they lost and the time spent to come out with almost nothing. Then you hire a consultant to build it for you….but you never really take ownership of the program. You are left with your team wondering, “Why is there not a better way?”

My first HACCP attempt, and what I did wrong

I was co-packing for a great company and they gave me a year to get my Food Safety Program up and running. My plan was such:

a. Delegate to a senior staff member.

b. Sent him to an AIB HAACP Class. One where they have you build your basic HAACP plan as part of the class.

c. Got an understanding on the supplemental program for the HAACP Program.

d. And left him to do it.

Preliminary Results

18 months, $ 80,000 in wages, and a very weak plan. But it did pass AIB—barely—and we did do the practice inspection which is on where they came and if you failed, it was called “Practice” so you did not have a failure on your record.

Changes and a redo

a. This time I was going to manage the plan—we had a weak template.

b. Hired an intern in Food Science from Purdue for the summer.

c. She knew what to add and had off-the-charts computer skills.

d. I helped daily and got all the staff involved.

Improved Results

A very robust plan with all of the inspections, forms, meeting formats, programs and trained a Deputy. Cost: $ 7,500 and not only did it work, it was easy enough for all staff to use (English and Spanish).

The whole program had 36 3-ring binders, over 1,000 files, and traveled on its own rack on wheels.

Note: We already had software that could do a lot of coding, so we added that into our program.

Note: Lot coding is how you want to track your production in the event of a recall. Some people did it every batch, so every shift, some companies every day, some do it every week. How often is determined on how much product you want at risk. We did it every shift. All invoices had the lot codes for the product on order and shipped. We could not afford a BIG recall.

Now for my commercial: RPIA is looking for new members with sales of $1.5 million+ per year. Keep in mind that that number refers to total company sales. It may not necessarily include only bakery products. Visit the RPIA website to find out how joining will be an asset for you.

To sweeten the pot, for a limited time I am giving members my template for a HACCP Program plus some costing tossed in to new RPIA Members who request it. FREE for members! This offer only stands until Labor Day.

Now back to the story.

Having a HACCP plan in place helps busy bakeries stay efficient.

What is the value of having a great HACCP Plan?

Business Operations

a. Much more organized production and cleaning, and follow up

b. Staff was happy to know what was expected of them. Sense of pride.

c. My time changed from issues of the hour to working on marketing. Stress level dropped.

d. Productivity increased an unbelievable 20% after we had been on it for 6 months. With no new equipment.


a. We received a Superior rating and the following year the highest rating they gave out.

b. As a Co-Packer, existing customers brought more projects and new customers were easier to get because out systems worked well.

c. As the owner, my satisfaction and pride in my company grew. More at peace with myself.

One more thing

June 23rd we are going to post the pages of outline for each “Book” of the HACCP Program. For some of you that will be enough. For others, it may wet your whistle and help decide if RPIA is a good fit for you. Please remember that this is a limited time offer that expires Labor Day.


Rick D. Crawford, Certified Master Baker