Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
HACCP is a systematic, science-based technique, which identifies specific hazards and control measures to ensure the safety of food produced. Focusing on prevention, it can accommodate changes including equipment design and processing procedures.
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Identify and Reduce Risk
A systematic approach to food safety identifies critical risks and assists you to establish preventative and corrective processes which minimize the risk of costly food recalls and foodborne illness.
The ability to demonstrate robust food safety and quality practices underpins the due diligence defense.
What Is It?
HACCP is a systematic, science-based, risk management system that identifies, evaluates, and controls food safety hazards.
The HACCP team should list all of the hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur at each step of the process. Once this has been completed, each of the hazards identified must be assessed for significance and then consideration is given to what controls can be applied to each of the hazards. Hazard analysis is a three-step process.
Three Key Steps:
- Hazard identification (Identify all reasonable hazards)
- Hazard analysis (assessment of significance)
- Identification of control measures for significant hazards
There is no single preferred CCP determination methodology. It is up to the food business and the HACCP team to apply a methodology of its choosing, on the condition the approach used consistently and accurately identifies CCPs.
For each critical control point identified, a critical limit must be established to control the identified significant food safety hazard. Critical limits must be measurable and should ideally have the capability to be monitored and measured in real time.
Monitoring is the planned and scheduled measurement or observation of a critical control point relative to its established critical limit. The monitoring procedure must be designed to detect loss of control at the CCP and should provide this information in time to make process adjustments. Ideally monitoring procedures should be in real-time.
Despite having spent a considerable amount of time and resources on the development of the HACCP plan there will be instances when loss of control is experienced. In such instances it is important that the process is brought back under control as soon as possible and that established corrective actions are implemented.
Given that a considerable amount of time and resources have been allocated to the establishment of a HACCP system, an organization needs to establish verification procedures. The control measures in place are indirect, i.e. they control the cause of the hazard and not the hazard itself. To increase the level of confidence a regular series of verification activities must be undertaken to demonstrate that the plan is working and working effectively.
Documentation and record-keeping is essential to the application of a HACCP system and should be appropriate to the size of the organization. All HACCP procedures should be documented. To ensure that an organization can demonstrate effective control of critical safety (and quality activities if appropriate), documentation must demonstrate that hazards have been correctly identified and that critical limits are valid. Records must provide objective evidence that all monitoring, corrective action and verification activities have been conducted.