Principle 2: Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs)


 A CCP is a step at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or, reduce it to an acceptable level.

How is this stage achieved?

The correct determination of CCPs is vital to ensure that there is effective management of food safety. The number of CCPs in a process will depend on the complexity of the process itself and the Scope of the study (e.g. few types of hazard or several).

CCPs should be determined through experience and judgement; this may be aided by the use of a decision tree.

If choosing to use a decision tree

There are many different decision trees to choose from.  In MyHACCP you can make use of the Codex decision tree or Campden BRI decision tree however, you are not restricted to using these.   You can use a decision tree of your choice, some businesses devise their own.

 Under the Campden BRI decision tree, Process Steps where hazards are effectively controlled by prerequisite food hygiene requirements will not be identified as CCPs.  Using this tree, will therefore typically generate fewer CCPs than the Codex decision tree.  Your prerequisite food hygiene requirements will need to be well developed, implemented and maintained to ensure continued safe production of food.  For example, if you take the physical hazard glass and run it through both decision trees, the Codex tree will identify it as a CCP where as the Campden BRI decision tree will not, as long as effective prerequisite requirements are in place to control it.

Using MyHACCP to work through a decision tree (Codex or Campden BRI’s)

Apply the HACCP decision tree (which ever one you use) to each hazard at each process step.  You will be prompted to record responses to the questions (yes or no).  Campden BRI decision tree has 6 questions: Q1, Q2, Q2a, Q3, Q4,Q5 whereas the Codex decision tree has 5 questions: Q1, Q1a (N.B. Q1a 'Is control at this step necessary for safety?' is not identified by a number on the tree), Q2,Q3,Q4.

If using the Codex Decision Tree the following guidance to each question may help.

  • Q1. Do control preventative measure(s) exist? This refers to control measures.

  • Q2. Is the step specifically designed to eliminate or reduce the likely occurrence of a hazard to an acceptable level?  This refers to the process step (not the controls).

  • Q3. Could contamination with identified hazard(s) occur in excess of acceptable level(s) or could these increase to unacceptable levels? Think about this in terms of 'if you lost control'.

  • Q4. Will a subsequent step eliminate identified hazard(s) or reduce likely occurrence to an acceptable level?  This refers to whether there is another process step further on in the process flow diagram that will eliminate identified hazard(s) or reduce likely occurrence to an acceptable level.

You should keep a record of the decision tree you use and your justifications to each of the questions asked.

If in doubt over the answer to a question, assume the worst situation until you have evidence to say otherwise.

If no CCPs are identified, the decision tree used or answers to the decision tree questions should be re-examined. However, it is possible for some significant hazards to be controlled by Operational Pre-Requisite Programmes (OPRP). These are broad controls such as temperature control which may be critical to food safety.

Documentation and Records

If using experience and judgement to determine if control of a hazard is a CCP or not, make sure you document your experience and reasons for your judgement to provide evidence for your decision making process.

If using a decision tree other than Codex or Campden BRI’s a copy of the actual decision tree used should be kept.


A review of this principle should be scheduled and triggered if there are changes within the company (e.g. a change to the process, ingredients, products, technology) see Principle 6 for further details on this.