HACCP Principles for Food Safety

HACCP Concept Words

Confused about HACCP and HACCP Plans? We can help.

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. HACCP is now the benchmark for food safety programs across the entire food supply chain, but it dates back to the early days of the NASA space program. HACCP has had several variations and adaptations through the years and it can be difficult to grasp.

If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process of creating your HACCP plan or applying HACCP principles, you're not alone. Confusion about HACCP is commonplace, but must be avoided. Recently, one food manufacturer listed his product name (e.g. "salmon") as the only control point in their "plan". This underscores the point that even competent manufacturers are having a tough time understanding what is expected when the FDA requires them to develop a HACCP plan. Needless to say, the FDA was not amused. Regardless of which types of foods your facility produces or handles, there are straight- forward steps to create your HACCP plan. Let's start by briefly explaining what HACCP is:

HACCP is a process- not the product. The HACCP process when correctly implemented should ensure only safe food products are handled in your facility. In a nutshell- understanding the HACCP process requires a thorough understanding of prerequisite sanitation programs (Good Manufacturing Practices, Good Agricultural Practices, and Good Retail Practices) and begins with five preliminary steps followed by Seven HACCP Principles.

What are the Steps to implementing your HACCP plan?

  • Create the HACCP Team
  • Describe the Product and its Distribution
  • Describe the Users and Consumers of the Product
  • Create Process Flow Charts
  • Verify Process Flow Charts
  • Conduct a Hazard Analysis of your processes
  • Identify your Critical Control Points
  • Establish Critical Limits for each Critical Control Point
  • Create your Monitoring Requirements and Procedures
  • Implement a process of Corrective Actions to apply when Critical Control Points are out of bounds
  • Create and implement a Recordkeeping system
  • Create a procedure to Verify that your HACCP plan is effective and functioning as intended

We need to implement a HACCP program, how do we do it?

Well, if you just read the steps above- you realize each of the above steps are needed to prepare a solid HACCP plan. The implementation process is entirely unique to each facility. A restaurant will have a different process from the manufacturer of meat products, as will a produce packing facility differ from a juice plant. Before you implement your program- you need to understand the fundamentals of HACCP first. As a foundation layer, consider our online course “Supply Chain HACCP -Foundational HACCP Principles” as a starting point in your education.

Qualified HACCP experts are also available for consultation.

HACCP Courses
Course NameWho should take the course
HACCP Priniciples for the Supply ChainTM All involved in the food supply chain. Provides a basic understanding of HACCP, a pre-requisite for any HACCP course.
HACCP Principles for Produce and Packinghouse facilities Handlers of fresh fruits and vegetable, from the farm to the packinghouse
HACCP Principles for Retailers Professional Food safety Managers in food service or retail
HACCP Principles for Auditors Internal and External Auditors