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Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

Understanding HACCP food safety standards

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) was introduced as a system to control safety as the product is manufactured, rather than trying to detect problems by testing the finished product. This system is based on assessing the inherent hazards or risks in a particular product or process and designing a system to control them. Specific control points

  1. Hazard analysis
    Hazards (biological, chemical, and physical) are conditions which may pose an unacceptable health risk to the consumer. The significant hazards associated with each specific step of the manufacturing process are listed.
  2. Identify critical control points
    Critical Control Points (CCP) are steps at which control can be applied and food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels.
  3. Establish critical limits
    All CCP's must have preventive measures which are measurable! Critical limits are the operational boundaries of the CCPs which control the food safety hazard(s).
  4. Monitor the CCP's
    Monitoring is a planned sequence of measurements or observations to ensure the product or process is in control (critical limits are being met). The monitoring interval must be adequate to ensure reliable control of the process.
  5. Establish corrective action
    HACCP is intended to prevent product or process deviations. However, should loss of control occur, there must be definite steps in place for disposition of the product and for correction of the process.
  6. Record keeping
    The HACCP system requires the preparation and maintenance of a written HACCP plan together with other documentation. This must include all records generated during the
    monitoring of each CCP and notations of corrective actions taken.
  7. Verification
    Verification has several steps. The scientific or technical validity of the hazard analysis and the adequacy of the CCP's should be documented. Verification of the effectiveness of the HACCP plan is also necessary. The system should be subject to periodic re-validation using independent audits or other verification procedures.

HACCP is a tool
HACCP is merely a tool and is not designed to be a standalone program. To be effective other tools must include adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices,

There are seven steps to a HACCP system

  1. Assess the hazards
  2. Identify critical control points
  3. Set up control procedures and standards for critical control points
  4. Monitor the critical control points
  5. Take the proper corrective actions
  6. Establish effective record keeping
  7. Verify the system is working

A well run HACCP system can control each critical point to eliminate hazards.