Good Hygiene Practices GHP

If you are a player in the food sector and aspire to ensure the safety of your products, understanding and applying Good Hygiene Practices (BPH) are essential. BPH Good Hygiene Practices are a body of standards and advice aimed at eliminating the risks of contamination of food products by biological, chemical or physical hazards.

What are GHP Good Hygiene Practices?

Good hygiene practices, abbreviated GHP, are a set of guidelines and advice developed to eliminate the risk of contamination of food by biological, chemical, or physical agents. These practices encompass the entire food process : production, processing, storage, distribution and preparation. They are based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), a world-renowned food safety management system.

These practices are governed by European and French legislation and take shape through Good Hygiene Practice Guides (GHPG) specific to each professional sector. These guides, developed by industry stakeholders, are formalized after validation by the French Food Safety Agency (FSSA) and serve as essential references for professionals in the field.

GHPG plays an important role, allowing professionals to take ownership of the key steps of the HACCP method and develop their Sanitary Control Plan (SCP). Thus, GHP is the cornerstone of food hygiene, essential to the preservation of food safety and security. They are aimed at all actors in the food sector, including producers, processors, distributors and restaurateurs, ensuring compliance with regulatory obligations and ensuring consumer confidence.

Why implement GHP good hygiene practices for your company ?

Adopting good hygiene practices (GHP) is essential for your business for several key reasons. First, compliance with ghp is not just a recommendation, but a legal requirement for all food industry actors who serve the public.

According to European and French regulations, all operators in the food sector must adhere to the fundamental principles of hygiene and establish a risk control system based on the HACCP method (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point). Failure to comply with these obligations can lead to serious consequences such as administrative or judicial sanctions, not to mention the risk of product withdrawals or recalls.

Beyond regulatory compliance, good hygiene practices represents a commitment to your customers and partners, emphasizing the quality and safety of the food you handle, whether in production, processing, storage, distribution or preparation. This not only helps prevent the risk of food contamination, which can seriously harm the health of consumers and the image of your company, but also strengthens the confidence of your customers.

In addition, rigorous hygiene practices meet growing consumer demand for high standards of hygiene and food safety, allowing you to stand out from your competitors.

Integrating good hygiene practices into your daily business helps you improve the operational efficiency of your business. They promote the optimization of your processes, the reduction of losses and waste, the improvement of the traceability of your products, as well as the strengthening of the skills and motivation of your staff. By adopting these practices, you also prevent disputes and disputes, making GHP a wise investment that helps reduce your costs, increase your turnover and solidify the loyalty of your customers.

Who is GHP good hygiene practices for ?

Aimed at all professionals in the food sector, Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) concern those who provide food to the public. This includes producers, processors, distributors and restaurateurs, without exception.

No matter the size of the company, GHP applies to everyone : from large companies to small structures, artisans and industrialists, not to mention neighborhood shops and hypermarkets.

These practices cover each type of food, including animal or plant products, fresh or processed foods, as well as those that are raw or cooked, packaged or sold in bulk. The GHP also includes all forms of production and distribution, whether organic or conventional agriculture, direct sales or not and regardless of the nature of catering, collective or commercial.

PHBs are a universal, cross-cutting framework to ensure food safety at every stage from production to consumption. They require commitment and cooperation from all stakeholders in the food sector, who must not only adhere to hygiene standards and inspections, but also keep themselves informed and undergo ongoing training on GHP and the HACCP method.

What are the organizations that can implement GHP good hygiene practices for you ?

To implement good GHP hygiene practices within your company, various organizations are at your disposal to accompany you. They offer several services : information, training, advice, audit and certification.

Below are some of the organizations that are ready to assist you :

The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Safety (ANSES)

ANSES is a public authority responsible for assessing health risks in the areas of food, the environment and the professional environment. It participates in defining products quality standards and food hygiene regulations.

She is also responsible for the validation of Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) guides developed by food stakeholders. Visit its website to view and download the list of validated GHPG for free.

Approved training organizations

These structures offer training specific to your field of activity and meet your needs. These training sessions provide you with the essential knowledge and skills to adopt GHP good hygiene practices and implement the HACCP method.

The list of accredited training organisations is available on the Directorate-General for Food (DGF) website.

Advisory and audit bodies

These organizations guide you in the creation and maintenance of your health control plan (HCP). They help you identify risks, establish control measures, write the necessary procedures and documents, train your staff, verify the effectiveness of your measures and correct anomalies. EB provides a list of approved advisory and audit bodies on its website.

Certification bodies

Obtaining a certificate of conformity from these organizations means that your sanitary control system meets the criteria of an established standard or reference. This values your commitment to food safety with your customers and partners. The list of accredited certification bodies can be found on the EB website.

What are the essential steps to implement GHP good hygiene practices ?

To implement Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) in your company, it is crucial to adopt a methodical and gradual approach, structured in several key phases :

1. Refer to your industry’s Good Hygiene Practice Guide (GHPG)

The GHPG is the foundation of essential knowledge stipulating the standards and advice dedicated to your professional branch. This guide is a valuable resource to identify potential risks, develop the necessary preventive actions and develop your health control plan (HCP).

The list of GHPG approved by ANSES is available for free download on its official website.

2. Train your staff on good hygiene practices and HACCP

The training of your employees is fundamental to ensure rigorous application of hygiene standards and to effectively control hazards. It is advisable to train them in the principles of good hygiene practices, the HACCP method, as well as the specific procedures adopted by your company. For this, certified training organizations offer programs designed specifically for your industry and according to your requirements.

Visit the EB website for a list of accredited training organizations.

3. Set up your Health Control Plan (HCP)

The HCP describes the strategies adopted to preserve the hygiene and safety of your products, including GHP, HACCP-based procedures, non-conformity management and registrations.

The constitution of your HCP must be based on the GHPG relevant to your field, while adapting it to your particular situation and your specific needs. It is also imperative to revise your HCP following any changes in your activities or products.

4. Verify and validate your health control plan (HCP)

Regular verification of the effectiveness and regulatory compliance of your HCP is mandatory. This includes self-monitoring, measuring critical parameters (such as temperature and pH), sampling and microbiological analysis, and checking the conformity of your products. It is also recommended that you consult with certified consulting and auditing organizations to help you validate your HCP.

The list of certified advisory and audit bodies is available on the EB website.

5. Continuously improve your health management plan (HMP)

It is essential to maintain and constantly improve your Health Management Plan (HMP). This improvement should be based on a regular assessment that includes feedback from your self-checks, external audits, customer feedback, as well as changes in regulations or technological advances. It is crucial to detect non-conformities, initiate adequate corrective and preventive measures and evaluate their effectiveness to ensure impeccable management.

In addition, investing in the training and awareness of your staff on good hygiene practices and the HACCP method is essential to ensure the effective implementation of your HCP.

How much does the implementation of GHP hygiene practices cost ?

The cost of implementing good hygiene practices (GHP) in your company is influenced by multiple factors, including the size and type of your company, the pre-existing level of hygiene, the required investments and certification bodies you choose. It is important to note that there is no fixed rate or official fee schedule for GHP. However, two main categories of costs can be identified : fixed and variable.

Fixed costs include all the upfront expenses required for GHP adoption, regardless of your production or sales volume. These costs include staff training, the development of a sanitary control plan (SCP), the acquisition or renovation of equipment, as well as certification or audit fees. These initial costs, while potentially considerable, are likely to be amortized over time.

According to studies, the average cost to set up GHP varies between 500 and 5000 euros per company.

Variable costs represent ongoing expenses related to the maintenance of GHP, fluctuating according to production or sales volume. This includes, but is not limited to, fees related to the use of water, electricity, cleaning products, microbiological testing, official inspections and costs associated with product recalls. These costs, although proportional to the activity of your company, can be reduced through process optimization and risk prevention.

According to studies, the average cost to maintain GHP is between 0.5 and 5% of the company’s turnover.

Investing in GHP is a significant expense for your business, but it’s also a smart investment. This allows you to ensure the safety of your products, comply with regulatory standards, meet the expectations of your customers and increase your operational efficiency.