Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point is an internationally recognized system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food. A HACCP System requires that potential hazards are identified and controlled at specific points in the process. This includes biological, chemical or physical hazards. Any company involved in the manufacturing, processing or handling of food products can use HACCP to minimize or eliminate food safety hazards in their product. Implementing an HACCP system requires that both prerequisite programs and HACCP Plans are implemented.

Why Use HACCP?

Awareness of food-borne illness is increasing and concern throughout the industry is driving the use of HACCP and HACCP based certification programs.

  • Global market place
  • Increasing incidents of foodborne pathogens
  • New pathogens emerging
  • Need to protect brands, control risks

Seven Principles Of HACCP

  1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis

This is where you evaluate your processes and identify where hazards can be introduced. Hazards can be physical (i.e. metal contamination), chemical (i.e. can a cleaning product contaminate the product, are there toxins that could contaminate the product?) or biological (at what points could bacteria or virus contaminate your product?).

  1. Identify the Critical Control Points

At what steps in your process can controls be applied to prevent or eliminate the hazards that have been identified? These are your critical control points. For each critical control point you will identify the preventive measure. How will you prevent the hazard?: Use of specific Temperature, ph, time, procedures?

  1. Establish Critical Limits

Your next step is to establish criteria for each critical control point. What criteria must be met to control the hazard at that point? Is it a minimum temperature? Are there regulatory limits that you must meet for this control point?

  1. Establish Monitoring Procedures

What will you measure and how will you measure it? You need to monitor the process at the critical control point and keep records to show that the critical limits have been met. Can you do continuous monitoring of the control point? If not, how often will the measurements need to be performed to show that the process is under control?

  1. Establish Corrective Actions

You will establish what actions need to be taken if a critical limit is not met. This will be identified ahead of time for each CCP. The action must make sure that no unsafe product is released. There must also be an evaluation of the process to determine the cause of the problem and an elimination of the cause.

  1. Establish Recordkeeping Procedures

You will determine what records are needed to show that the critical limits have been met, and the system is in control. Address regulatory requirements and include records from the development of the system and the operation of the system.

  1. Establish Verification Procedures

The HACCP plan must be validated. Once the plan is in place, make sure it is effective in preventing the hazards identified. Test the end product, verify that the controls are working as planned. Perform ongoing verification of the system. Are measuring and monitoring equipment in control? What are corrective actions showing? Are records being maintained as required?