Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, or HACCP, are the seven standard principles used to help identify, evaluate and control food safety hazards.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, or HACCP, is a step-by-step plan used to enforce food safety and prevent food safety hazards. Prevention is the primary focus of implementing a HACCP program. A detailed HACCP program requires commitment from the chef and culinary team who will follow a series of seven standardized principles to identify, evaluate and implement controls of food safety hazards.
A successful HACCP program begins with a designated HACCP team committed to following seven standardized principles. In food and beverage operations, a designated team will consist of individuals thoroughly trained and educated to understand the protocols of food safety, the necessary precautions to minimize food safety hazards, and the causes and risks of food born bacteria and pathogens.
- The first principle of a HACCP program is hazard analysis (HA). This initial step identifies and establishes hazards associated with ingredients and raw materials. In this step, it is important to recognize any potential hazards in all stages from production and product storage, to handling, cooking, and ultimately to consumption.
- The second principle of a HACCP program is to determine the critical control point. Identifying proper controls is essential in preventing food safety hazards. Establishing control points can include refrigeration protocol for raw meat and poultry as well as certain produce items. Refrigeration controls include not only temperature controls, but also proper storing of raw meat and poultry on dedicated shelving to prevent any cross-contamination.
- The third principle of a HACCP program is to establish critical limits. A critical limit is a minimum or maximum value of acceptability. The established critical limit must be controlled at the critical control point to minimize the risks of potential hazards to food safety. An example of an established critical limit may be an acceptable temperature measurement during the cooling phases of a cooked item intended for future use.
- The fourth principle of a HACCP program is to establish a monitoring system for the critical control point. An established monitoring system should consist of a regulated series of inspections and assessments, as well as recording the results to support the observations and findings. In establishing a monitoring system for the critical limit of temperature measurements, setting monitoring frequencies can help determine if the critical limit of is being met. In other words, is the desired temperature achieved within the established timed increments to prevent a food safety hazard?
- The fifth principle of a HACCP program is to establish any necessary corrective actions. When deviations occur in the established critical limits, corrective actions are necessary to determine the cause of the deviation as well as determine a solution to maintain food safety compliance. Corrective actions should be established in advance for each critical control point. Record keeping plays an important role in this principle as well. Documentation of deviations helps establish better critical control points.
- The sixth principle of a HACCP program is to establish verification procedures. Verification procedures provide factual evidence that the established HACCP plan in place will ensure the production of food safe for consumption. Verification procedures include validating all principles and also includes regularly scheduled reviews to ensure processes are being followed and that no deviations in controls and critical control points occur. All findings must be documented in reviews, even if there are no deviations present.\
- The seventh principle of a HACCP program is to establish good record keeping processes and thorough documentation of each principle. Documents must incorporate all information on established hazards and the hazard analysis, critical control points, what the set critical limits are, detailed monitoring procedures and what corrective actions are or will need to be in the event of a deviation of a critical control point. Records and documentation must be kept up to date and accurate.