Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Standard HACCP covers key requirements that have an impact on health and safety of food in the entire chain, including production, processing, distribution and sale.  The certification for HACCP is recommended to all companies operating in the food industry

HACCP is a way of managing food safety hazards. Food safety management procedures should be based on HACCP principles.

HACCP involves:
looking closely at what you do in your business, what could go wrong and what risks there are to food safety
identifying any critical control points the areas a business needs to focus on to ensure those risks are removed or reduced to safe levels
deciding what action you need to take if something goes wrong
making sure that your procedures are being followed and are working
keeping records to show your procedures are working

It is important to have food safety management procedures that are appropriate for your business.

Our mission is to provide innovative solutions and tailor-made services that enhance and secure international trade, while offering added value to our clients.

Explaining hazards

A hazard is something that is dangerous. A food hazard is something that could make food unsafe or unfit to eat. It’s important you can identify those stages in your business when hazards could be present so they can be removed or reduced to safe levels.

There are three main types of food safety hazards:
microbiological - involving harmful bacteria
chemical - involving chemical contamination
physical - involving objects getting into food
Food safety management procedures
You must develop your own procedures based on the principles of HACCP.

Businesses must comply with the legal requirements by following good hygiene practice.

How to Write a HACCP Plan

Basic food safety principles applied in food processing and handling are no longer enough for the modern day customer. Industry standards have far surpassed regulatory requirements. There are several reasons behind the demand of increasing levels of food safety efficacy systems. The most important: ‘consumers’ health is never compromised by consuming adequate food.” When achieving food safety in a product there are only positive outcomes, such as assuring part of business continuity and regulatory compliance, brand protection and customer trust. In order to assure food safety, a methodology that can greatly contribute through documentation, implementation, and maintenance the HACCP Plan (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points).

All elements of HACCP should be set in consecutive flow so that when consulted or reviewed, everything is aligned to the methodology.
Certification, inspection and audit solutions focused on business optimization.






WHO WE ARE           






244 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1203, New York, NY 10001 US
12 Steps to a Good HACCP Plan
When building out your HACCP plan, follow this specific methodology involving 12 steps. If you are having trouble, just reach out to your friendly neighborhood Safe Food Alliance team.

One thing to remember as you build out your plan – a HACCP Plan is a living document, and as such, should be revisited often as your processes change, your company grows, and you discover better ways to produce your product. Now that we have that covered, let’s begin.

1. Assemble the HACCP Team
Your plan will typically include a table where all the names of the HACCP Team members are written and signed, and the team leader is clearly designated. The team functions best when it’s highly cross-functional and includes members of various departments such as sanitation, maintenance, production, and quality. It’s essential to have these varied perspectives and background knowledge. 
In this section, you should include a brief description of each member’s current position, background, and experience. You’ll also need to have a copy of a HACCP formal training certificate for the HACCP coordinator, from an accredited two-day HACCP course.  There should be some sort of documented HACCP training for the rest of the team as well, whether conducted internally or by someone like us. The more knowledgeable the team, the better the plan will be.

2. Describe the Product
This section should include a full description of each product or family of products within the scope of the plan. Product descriptions should consist of details that impact the food safety of the product, including (as applicable):
the recipe or formulation
the packing materials and any other information such as the modified atmosphere
the conditions in which the product is to be stored (e.g., temperature, light, humidity)
the shelf life
distribution conditions
any potential for abuse in the distribution chain or by consumers, which may put the product at risk.
The better you define the product before starting the hazard analysis, the more thorough the review will be.

3. Identify the Intended Use
The intended use is based on the usual consumption of the commodity by the final consumer or user. Again, defining intended use helps ensure a more thorough hazard analysis later. This section includes both your company’s intended purpose based on product design, as well as potential other applications. The more you know your consumers, the better you can take care of them. A classic example, in this case, is cookie dough: it’s a product you typically cook before consumption, but in some cases, it’s eaten raw. For this reason, several companies have had recalls on their cookie dough due to consumer illness.

4. Construct the Flow Diagram
The process flow diagram must be clear and detailed to describe all process steps. Use this diagram to help ensure the hazard analysis is thorough and as a visual reference as your team considers potential hazards to the consumer. The flow diagram must include every process step that occurs on-site, from the very beginning (e.g., receiving and preparing ingredients, storing packing materials, etc.) to the very end (shipping, warehousing, etc.) The clearer the diagram is to the viewer, the easier to understand the process. Others may also use the table during site visits (e.g., customers, auditors, consultants, regulatory officials). Hence, it’s wise to design it in a way that it’s relatively clear to others who don’t know the process as well as you do.

5. On-Site Verification of the Flow Diagram
On-site verification of the diagram helps ensure its accuracy.  Again, the purpose of this is primarily to ensure a thorough hazard analysis. The site will need to provide proof that the HACCP Team has verified the flow diagram.  Some companies like to keep the first version of the diagram with hand-written notes on it, indicating changes made and initialed and dated by the participants. Ultimately, however, proof of the verification is best done with a final, updated copy that is signed; or meeting minutes indicating approval of the final version and signatures of participants.

6. Conduct a Hazard Analysis
The hazard analysis is part of the plan that typically takes the most time to review and update. Here the team collects and examines all relevant data to the product’s safety, including process performance, product defects, customer complaints, results of internal and third-party audits, and various other relevant information.  The team must take the proper time to conduct a thorough analysis.

A Hazard analysis can vary in format, but needs to include these common elements:
List of all process steps and ingredients
Identification of potential hazards
Assessment of each hazard, with consideration of both severity and likelihood
Identification of ‘significant’ hazards
Justification of the assessment (detailed explanation as to the team’s reasoning)
Identification of appropriate controls for each hazard

7. Determine Critical Control Points (CCP’s)
This one is a simple concept. Based on the hazard analysis described above, you can quickly identify all significant hazards and CCPs. Critical Control Points are those essential steps designed to control a specific hazard so that the product will be safe to consume. The team should use a decision tree like this one when determining CCPs.

8. Establish Critical Limits for Each CCP
A critical limit is a critical control point’s “go/no go” or “acceptable/unacceptable” criteria.  For some processes, such as metal detection, it is as simple as testing with certified metal test pieces to ensure proper function. For other types of CCPs, it can be much more complex and include parameters such as temperature, humidity, product viscosity, or chemical concentration. All these variables and values have to be clearly defined, including both lower and upper limits, as applicable.

9. Establish a Monitoring System
This step is where we define the monitoring method for each CCP.  Monitoring is how we ensure the process has met the critical limit, so the product is safe.  The monitoring procedure should contain the following:
What will you monitor?
How often shall it be monitored?
Who is responsible for performing the task?
What instruments will you use?
How will you monitor? (method)
The clearer the instructions, the fewer chances of failure.

10. Establish Corrective Actions
Each CCP is required to have predetermined and documented corrective actions for deviations that may occur. The corrective actions plan should comprise at least the following elements: the responsibility for each action, disposition of the non-complying product, the correction of the cause of failure, and recording the event. Keep records of activities readily available. If you need help with conducting root cause analysis for your corrective actions, check out our quick root cause analysis course.

11. Establish Verification Procedures
Much of the discussion in our HACCP courses end up centering around how to conduct verification in the context of HACCP properly.  Verification procedures should be activities designed to confirm that the plan is: 1) being followed; 2) effective for its intended use, and 3) adequately maintained. We are looking for defined procedures here, indicating how we conduct routine verification activities like the sign-off of the CCP monitoring records, as well as how you complete the less-frequent validation. The more exhaustive the verification is, the more confident we can be of the plan.  For more on verification, take a look at our article “The 6th Principle of HACCP: Verification”.

12. Establish Documentation and Record-keeping
This final step includes establishing both record-keeping processes and the company’s documentation system (establishing defined procedures, the company’s methods of document control, etc.). Consider:

How will you document your system?
What should you include?
Who is responsible for doing it?
How long are you keeping records? Where are you saving them?
Who needs to have access to what documents and how are documents controlled?
A better-documented plan helps ensure better execution.