What is HACCP? All You Need to Know About it

May 9, 2017
Cedric Seguela

Food safety is a serious concern for any manufacturers who produce or package edible materials. Through the plan, called HACCP anyone can properly recognize risk and handle it in order to avoid any food contamination or code violations that could be a harm to the consumers.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) 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.

The HACCP system is a scientific and systematic approach to identify, assess and control of hazards in the food production process. With the HACCP system, food safety control is integrated into the design of the process rather than relied on end-product testing. Therefore HACCP system provides a preventive and thus cost-effective approach in food safety. HACCP attempts to avoid hazards rather than attempting to inspect finished products for the effects of those hazards. The HACCP system can be used at all stages of a food chain, from food production and preparation processes including packaging, distribution, etc. HACCP has been increasingly applied to industries other than food, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

There are seven principles of HACCP that need to be used and implemented in any food industry throughout the world. These principles include the following:

Analysis hazards

A food safety hazard is any biological, chemical or physical property that may cause a food to be unsafe for human consumption. We analyze hazards to identify any hazardous biological, chemical, or physical property in raw materials and processing steps, and to assess their likeliness of occurrence and potential to render food unsafe for consumption.

Determine critical control points

A critical control point is a point, a step or a procedure in a food manufacture process at which control can be applied and, as a result, a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to an acceptable level. Not every point identified with hazards and preventive measures will become a critical control point. A logical decision-making process is applied to determine whether or not the process is a critical control point.

Establish limits for critical control points

Limit for critical control point is a criterion which separates acceptability from unacceptability. It is the maximum or minimum value to which a physical, biological, or chemical hazard must be controlled at a critical control point to prevent, eliminate, or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of the identified food safety hazard.

Establish monitoring procedures for critical control points

Monitoring is a planned sequence of observations or measurements to assess whether a critical control point is under control and to produce an accurate record for future use in verification. Monitoring is very important for a HACCP system. Monitoring can warn the plant if there is a trend towards loss of control so that it can take action to bring the process back into control before the limit is exceeded.

Establish corrective actions

Corrective action is an action taken when the results of monitoring at the critical control point indicate that the limit is exceeded, i.e. a loss of control. Since HACCP is a preventive system to correct problems before they affect food safety, plant management has to plan in advance to correct potential deviations from established critical limits. Whenever a limit for critical control point is exceeded, the plant will need to take corrective actions immediately.

The plant management has to determine the corrective action in advance. The employees monitoring the critical control point should understand this process and be trained to perform the appropriate corrective actions.

Establish verification procedures

Verification is the application of methods, procedures, tests and other evaluations, in addition to monitoring, to determine compliance with the HACCP plan. Some examples of verification are the calibration of process monitoring instruments at specified intervals, direct observation of monitoring activities, and corrective actions. Besides, sampling of product, monitoring records review and inspections can serve to verify the HACCP system.

The plant management should check that the employees are keeping accurate and timely HACCP records.

Establish a record system

Maintaining proper HACCP records is an essential part of the HACCP system. The record of a HACCP system should include records for critical control points, establishments of limits, corrective actions, results of verification activities, and the HACCP plan including hazard analysis.


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