Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point for Food Safety Management

HACCP Food Safety Image

If you’re involved in food/beverage production and have food safety responsibilities, you’re required to fulfill Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP, compliance requirements (see 21 CFR parts 120 and 123).

HACCP is a systematic and preventive food safety approach intended to avoid the introduction or and/or contamination of food by biological, chemical, and physical hazards rather than simply inspecting food products after their production to determine if they have been contaminated (this is somewhat similar to the “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound full of cure” adage).

Enjoy learning more about HACCP and it’s important role in food safety, and don’t forget to download the free 7 Tools of Quality download we’ve provided for you at the bottom of this article as well.

The Interesting Origins of HACCP

Hazard analysis and critical control points has an interesting origin story. You can trace its history back to the production of artillery shells during WWII and attempts to reduce the number of artillery shells that were duds or misfired (for those in the know, this involved failure mode and effects analysis, or FMEA). After that, it was more fully developed in the 1960s when NASA asked food producers Pillsbury to create food for space missions. From there, it developed more wide-spread usage at Pillsbury in their commercial food products (including farina used in baby food). Later still, the US FDA asked Purina to provide training on inspection of canned foods for FDA inspectors after a botulism scare. This 1969 training program Pillsbury created for the FDA was called “Food Safety through the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System” and it’s the first time HACCP was used.

HACCP is now commonly used in the production of food, beverages, and even cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Although HACCP is focused on food safety, it’s also a basis for many food quality assurance systems as well.

Seven Principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Method

Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) is based on seven principles, as explained below.

HACCP Principle 1: Conduct a Hazard Analysis

Create a plan to identify food safety hazards and appropriate preventive measures for each hazard. Remember that a food safety hazard includes any biological, chemical, or physical property that can cause food to be unsafe for consumption by humans.

HACCP Principle 2: Identify Critical Control Points

Identify the critical control point in your food production process. A critical control point is a point, procedure, or step at which you can apply a control and therefore eliminate, prevent, or reduce to a acceptable level the food safety hazard(s) you’ve identified.

HACCP Principle 3: Establish Critical Limits for Each Critical Control Point

At each critical control point you’ve identified, determine the maximum or minimum value for the physical, biological, or chemical hazards.

HACCP Principle 4: Establish Critical Control Point Monitoring Requirements

You’ll need to monitor conditions at each critical control point in your food production process to ensure you’ve staying within your critical limits. Create a monitoring procedure for doing so (in the US, you’re required to document the procedure and frequency in your HACCP plan by the US FDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS).

HACCP Principle 5: Establish Corrective Actions

If there’s a deviation from your critical limits, you’ll need to implement corrective actions. At this step of the HACCP process, determine the actions to be taken in each instance a critical limit is not met. These corrective actions should ensure that no product would injure a person’s health or be otherwise adulterated if the deviation does enter commerce.

HACCP Principle 6: Establish Procedures for Ensuring the HACCP System is Working as Intended

You’ll need to create a process to validate that your HACCP program is working and that you’re producing a safe food product. Validation can include reviewing the HACCP plan, CCP records, and critical limits as well as performing microbial sampling and analysis. Verification tasks are performed by both FSIS inspectors (in the US) as well as by plant personnel.

HACCP Principle 7: Establish Record Keeping Procedures

Finally, create procedures to complete and store records of your HACCP processes. This includes your hazard analysis and your written HACCP plan as well as records documenting critical control points, critical limits, verification activities, and how you’ve handled all deviations identified.


HACCP’s Inclusion in ISO 2200 Food Safety Management System Standard

HACCP is included in the ISO 22000 standard for food safety management. Read our article on ISO 22000 for more on that standard.

Conclusion: The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Method for Food Safety Is Essential

We hope you found this brief introduction to the HACCP method for food safety useful and helpful. Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to check out our Training Solutions for the Food and Beverage industries.

And don’t forget to download the free guide below for help with some quality basics. 

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Free 7 Tools of Quality Guide Download

Get this free guide to the 7 Basic Tools of Quality, widely used in quality assurance (QA) and other continuous improvement processes.

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 25 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center and an Instructional Design certification from the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training. Jeff frequently writes for magazines related to safety, safety training, and training and frequently speaks at conferences on the same issues, including the Washington Governor's Safety and Health Conference, the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference, the Wisconsin Safety Conference, the MSHA Training Resources Applied to Mining (TRAM) Conference, and others.

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