What is HACCP?
HACCP is the Food Safety System Foundation and the odds are those if your organization already has a HACCP system in place you are that much closer to achieving your goal of GFSI certification in one of the chosen schemes.
The seven principles of HACCP outline how to establish, implement, and maintain a HACCP plan. The principles have international recognition and have been published by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).
1. Principle One: Conduct a Hazard Analysis
The purpose of the hazard analysis is to develop a list of hazards, which are of such significance that they are reasonably likely to cause injury or illness if not effectively controlled.
Hazards that are not reasonably likely to occur are not considered further in the HACCP plan.
A hazard is defined as a biological, chemical or physical agent that is reasonably likely to cause illness or injury in the absence of its control.
- The HACCP team identifies the hazards associated with each ingredient,
raw material, step in the process, storage, distribution, final preparation
and use by the consumer.
- The HACCP team rates the probability of the occurrence of the hazard
based on history and experience and the severity of impact if the hazard
- Each ingredient is categorized according to level of risk as determined by
the probability and severity.
- Appropriate action is taken to manage the level of risk. The HACCP team
identifies the preventative measure that can be taken at each step to
reduce the food safety hazard.
- The HACCP team identifies whether or not this step in the process is
likely to be a CCP.
2. Identify the Critical Control Points
A critical control point is defined as a step at which control can be applied and is
essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.
The HACCP team uses the “CCP Decision Tree” to determine the Critical Control Points
(CCPs) required to control the identified hazard.
The logic is documented on the “HACCP Control Chart”.
3. Establish Critical Limits
A critical limit is a maximum and/or minimum value to which a biological, chemical or physical parameter must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of a food safety hazard.
Critical limits are used to distinguish between safe and unsafe operating conditions at a CCP. Critical limits must be scientifically based. They may be based on regulatory standards and guidelines, literature surveys, experimental results, and experts.
4. Establish Monitoring Procedures
- Monitoring is a planned sequence of observations or measurements to assess whether a CCP is under control.
- Monitoring facilitates tracking of the operation to help predict loss of control.
- Monitoring is used to determine when there is loss of control at a CCP and a deviation has occurred.
- Monitoring also produces an accurate written record for future use in verification.
- Continuous monitoring is preferred over batch monitoring.
- Monitoring procedures will outline the specific monitoring procedure, identify the position responsible for the monitoring, and the corrective action.
- Monitoring procedures and frequencies must be reliable enough to indicate that the CCP is under control.
HACCP monitoring issues include:
- Failure to meet CCP limits
- Failure of monitoring task (procedure, frequency, training requirements)
- Documentation errors and record keeping errors
- CCP equipment issues (calibration and verification check failures, power failures)
- Monitoring equipment must be calibrated
- Only CCP certified operators will be permitted to work at CCPs
5. Establish Corrective Actions
Corrective action procedures are designed to prevent unsafe food from reaching the
Corrective action should include:
- Action(s) to assure no product with potential health issues is released or has been released for distribution.
- Determine and correct the cause of the deviation.
- Take measures to prevent recurrence of the deviation.
- Determine the disposition of the non-compliant product.
- Record the corrective actions.
- The CCP will be under control after the corrective action is taken.
6. Establish Record Keeping Procedures
Records for the HACCP system should include the following:
- A summary of the hazard analysis, including the rationale for determining hazard and
The HACCP plan:
- Approval page with signatures and dates
- HACCP Team members and training
- Facility overview including description of the food, its distribution, intended use and consumer, pre-requisite programs
- Verified flow diagram
HACCP control chart that includes information for:
- Steps in the process that are CCPs
- The hazards of concern
- Hazard control measure/device
- Critical limits
- Monitoring procedures, responsibility and schedule
- Corrective Actions
- Verification procedures, responsibility and schedule
- History of the HACCP plan
- Blank copies of the CCP monitoring sheets
- Facility HACCP training logs
- Verification records
- Reassessment records
- Record keeping procedures for completed HACCP documents
7. Establish Verification Procedures
Verification includes record review, independent testing and observation of the
monitoring. Verification procedures will outline the specific procedure, identify the position
responsible, and state the frequency of the verification.
Verification includes the initial validation of the HACCP plan to determine that the plan is
scientifically and technically sound, that all hazards have been identified and that if the
HACCP plan is properly implemented, these hazards will be effectively controlled.
Verification includes the calibration of all related instrumentation.
Subsequent validations are performed when there is an unexplained system failure, a
significant product or packaging change occurs or new hazards are recognized.