Preparatory Stage A: Prerequisite food hygiene requirements

'Prerequisites' are basic hygiene measures that should be in place in your food business prior to you undertaking a HACCP study. They include matters such as supplier approval, incoming material specifications, finished product specifications and staff training.

The MyHACCP tool shows you a list of common prerequisites and asks you to select the ones you have properly considered and for which you have put in place adequate controls. You will then be invited to identify the location of documents such as policies and procedures where further details of these prerequisite controls may be found. It is common for food businesses to place all these documents into a 'prerequisite manual' for ease of reference, but this is not a requirement. 

The list of prerequisites in MyHACCP is not exhaustive and there may be other matters, such as temperature control, which are relevant for your business.

Once you have identified which prerequisites are relevant to your business, you should develop procedures, or review existing documentation, to ensure that adequate control measures are in place.

For each prerequisite you may wish to include the following points in your procedure:

  • The title of the document. For example 'Policy for glass and plastic management.'
  • A brief statement on the purpose of the prerequisite measure. For example 'To prevent contamination of products from glass or plastic from the factory environment.'
  • What measures are necessary to achieve the desired outcome. For example, ”No glass containers to be taken into production area.”
  • Who will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements are met. For example, 'Production supervisors must ensure that no glass containers are taken onto the production floor.'
  • The nature and frequency of any checks that are to be made and by whom. For example, 'Production supervisors must check the production area for any glass containers prior to commencing production each day.'
  • What should happen if something goes wrong. For example, “Glass bottle found in production area. All staff provided with refresher training on glass policy to prevent recurrence.”
  • How, where and by whom these checks are recorded. For example, 'Production supervisors must record each pre-production glass check on form X1.'
  • When and by whom the procedure must be reviewed for example, “This policy to be reviewed every 12 months by the Operations Manager.”

Top tip: Use the list of common prerequisites in MyHACCP as a checklist to ensure that you have properly considered all the relevant hygiene measures that should be in place before you start your HACCP study.

Read about the general requirements for each prerequisite listed in the MyHACCP Web Tool.

Operational Prerequisites

Most prerequisites are general in nature and their purpose is to ensure the general hygiene conditions of the food business. However, some prerequisites may be identified through the HACCP study as being critical to food safety to control a specific hazard. These are referred to as 'Operational Prerequisites' or 'OPR' and they should be carefully identified and managed. 

Find out more about Operational Prerequisites.


You may find the following links helpful when putting together your prerequisite programme:

  1. Codex alimentarius food hygiene (basic texts) Fourth edition
  2. Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Guide to prerequisite control
  3. Appropriate Industry guides