Introduction to HACCP principles

If you decide to use the MyHACCP tool just to work through the HACCP principles, it is very important that you have already taken the preparatory steps that HACCP requires and that these are fully effective, to allow the successful application and implementation of the HACCP system.

Principles of HACCP 

1.1 - Identify and list potential hazards

It is important to consider all hazards that can be reasonably expected to occur at a process step.

1.2 - Conduct a hazard analysis

This is the process of collecting and evaluating hazards and conditions leading to their presence (e.g. temperature abuse) which are significant and should be addressed as part of your HACCP plan. At this stage some hazards will not be considered significant and whilst their control is necessary these particular hazards will not be carried on to the next stage (1.3 specify control measures).  Only those hazards regarded as significant will be taken forwards to the next stage.  Various tools can be used to assess significance, an example of which is provided in MyHACCP but ultimately the decision lies with the business.

1.3 - Specify control measures

These are actions or activities that can be used to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.

2 - Determine CCPs (Critical Control Points)

You decide which of the hazards at particular process steps are critical control points (as opposed to those where control is important but not as critical).  You may wish to use a tool known as a decision tree to help you make your decision.  MyHACCP provides two examples of decision trees.

3 - Establish critical limits

This is a value which separates acceptable product (safe product) from unacceptable product (unsafe product) (e.g. milk pasteurisation 72°C for 15 seconds).

4 - Establish a monitoring system

This refers to a planned sequence of observations or measurements of control measures.

5 - Establish corrective action plan

This refers to actions taken when the results of monitoring at a CCP indicate a loss of control.

6 - Validation, verification and review

This will prompt you to ensure that the necessary tests/actions have been carried out to ensure that elements of the HACCP plan are capable (both scientifically and technically) of giving safe product.

Verification – This will prompt you to ensure that you have the necessary evidence to ensure your HACCP system is resulting in safe product.

Review – An examination of the HACCP plan must take place at scheduled intervals. A review must also be triggered in response to a change (e.g. changes of equipment, layout of the building, emerging pathogen etc).

7 - Documentation and record keeping

Any documentation and records used to develop, implement and review your HACCP plan must be kept (e.g. recorded use of food industry guides).

What do I do when I have completed the Principles?

Once you have worked through each Principle in the tool, and you consider that all the responses you have provided reflect current practice in your business, you are ready to download and print out your HACCP plan.  This will form part of your food safety management system along with all other supporting documentation that you may have produced to ensure food safety.