Preparatory Stage D: Select the HACCP team

Statement

A HACCP study will require the collection and evaluation of technical data. Those responsible should possess the necessary skills and experience.

Small vs larger business

In a small business many roles within the HACCP team may be filled by the same person or the food business operator may develop the HACCP based controls themselves.

Small businesses may not have all the necessary expertise in-house that may be required to devise, implement and maintain a HACCP study.  It is imperative that small businesses take ownership of their HACCP study whether they take external advice (e.g. via a consultant) or not.

For a larger business it is recommended that the HACCP study should be carried out by a multi-disciplinary team with the necessary skills and, where possible, multi-hierarchical. Larger businesses may have an array of skills and expertise in-house that they can draw upon to fulfil various roles.  Where more than one HACCP team operate a HACCP co-ordinator could be appointed.

How is this stage achieved?

For a larger business a HACCP team leader is often the person responsible for choosing the HACCP team, this may be with the guidance of others.  Selection of a team with the appropriate knowledge, experience, competency and understanding of HACCP is essential if the study is to be a success.

Ideally a HACCP team should comprise of the following key roles.

 

Team member

Skills required

 

Team Leader – person responsible for implementing HACCP

Knowledge of the HACCP technique and/or process, responsible for managing the study.  Good management skills essential.

Roles more suitable to the larger business

Scribe

Good note taking at HACCP meetings, able to write the HACCP plan.  Typically this is a technical/quality specialist with good HACCP knowledge.

Roles more suitable to the larger business

Quality Assurance/Technology Specialist

Good understanding of hazards specified in the Scope of the Study and associated risks for a particular product group.

Roles more suitable to the larger business

Product Specialist

Clear understanding of the process under study.  Essential they can contribute what actually happens on the production line throughout all shift patterns.

Roles more suitable to the larger business

Engineer

Has working knowledge of the hygienic design and engineering operation, performance and maintenance of the process equipment under study.

Roles more suitable to the larger business

Challenger

A person who knows the product and process well and will challenge the system to identify any weaknesses in its structure to help improve the HACCP plan

 

Other:-

Hygiene manager, operators, packing and distribution experts, buyer.

Where appropriate key personnel or consultant with expertise in agronomy, veterinary health, production, microbiology, medicine, public health, food technology, environmental health, chemistry and engineering.

 

Specialist knowledge in their own field to provide advice.

Consultants – Consultants may be helpful in developing a HACCP plan although we hope that MyHACCP will allow you to successfully work through the process.  Whilst the consultant may provide the necessary scientific/technical knowledge and HACCP expertise, ownership of the HACCP system and its implementation should lie with the HACCP business owner or team leader on-site.  Their involvement in preparing the system is paramount and essential to day-to-day management and maintenance of the HACCP system.

Responsibility - It is preferable that no member of the team has responsibility for another member of the team.  This could potentially create a situation where a team member is reluctant to state what they truly feel about an issue.

Size of the team – This depends on the size of the business but as a general rule between 1-2 for a small business of less than 10 employees and approximately 4-6 members for a larger business.

Records - should be maintained e.g. members of the team and their role, relevant training (especially that relating to HACCP), qualifications and experience, records of team meetings and minutes of meetings (at least all main discussion points and actions), changes to the team.

Keeping up-to-date - The Team Leader should ensure that they keep themselves and their team up-to-date with developments in food safety and hygiene issues and amend their training records accordingly (e.g. obtaining and reading current guides on HACCP and food safety, attendance at seminars, workshops and conferences, internet and literature searches, trade and scientific journals, notification via rapid alert systems.

HACCP Training – It is recommended that all team members and individuals developing controls for their very small business have previously attended a HACCP training course.  There are various levels of HACCP training (Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced).  Core team members should consider taking a level of qualification at intermediate or beyond.  Refresher training should also be considered.

Deputy – Where there is a deputy for a role this should be stated in the training records.