Principle 6: Verification

Statement

Verification is the principle which confirms that the HACCP plan if followed will produce safe food for the final consumer.

How is this stage achieved?

Principle 6 Verification is split into three parts

  1. Validation – "Will the HACCP plan ensure that safe food will be produced”?

  2. Verification – “Is the HACCP plan working, is it producing safe food”?

  3. Review  - “Is the HACCP plan up to date”?

Verification (overall-all 3 parts) looks at the HACCP system to ensure that it is set up in the correct way and that the business is following the HACCP plan, in particular ensuring that the CCPs are under control.  Very simply, verification involves performing tests, checking that procedures are being adhered to and reviewing the HACCP system to ensure that the food being produced is safe.

Validation

Obtain evidence that the elements of the HACCP plan are effective.

Prior to implementing HACCP the contents of the plan must be validated to ensure that the HACCP plan will ensure safe food is produced.  The main focus is to ensure that the hazards identified are complete, correct and have suitable controls in place (effectively managed if the specified controls are followed) i.e. confirmation that the CCPs have been correctly identified and can assure safe food.

Validation activities could include:-

  • Challenge testing the equipment / machinery

  • Experimental trials e.g. thermal evaluations on the equipment either at high temperatures or low temperatures

  • Mathematical modelling

Other areas where information can be obtained to support a validation study include:-

  • Document review

  • Legislation – confirm that the HACCP plan meets legal requirements, with regard to food safety.
  • Codes of practices
  • Accepted good practice

Ensure personnel carrying out the activities have the appropriate qualifications, training and experience i.e. they are competent to undertake the validation activity.

Verification activities

The application of methods, procedures, tests and other evaluations, in addition to monitoring to determine ongoing compliance with the HACCP plan.

Depending on the type of product and scale of business verification activities may include:

  • Internal audits

  • External audits on suppliers

  • Undertaking chemical or microbiological sampling and examinations

  • Evaluating customer feedback analysis including complaints

  • Undertaking raw material or end product testing

  • Analysis and confirmation that the controls, monitoring and corrective actions are being properly applied.

  • Analysis of deviation from the critical limits

  • Ensuring that the prerequisites are under control

  • Ensuring that the personnel carrying out the verification activities have the appropriate qualifications, training and experience i.e. they are competent to undertake the verification activity

 

Review

Your HACCP plan should be up-to-date at all times and reflect any change.  A change is anything in the HACCP plan that is different to when the study was last carried out.

A review should be both scheduled and triggered.

Triggered,  prior to a change

There should be factors built into the plan that would initiate (trigger) a review.

Examples include:-

  • Changes in raw materials or product formulation

  • Introduction of new product

  • Change raw materials supplier

  • Change in processing system

  • Change in layout or environment

  • Modification to process equipment or new equipment

  • Failures in system e.g. corrective action or product recall

  • Anticipated change in customer or consumer

  • Any report from the market place that indicates a health or spoilage risk associated with the product

  • Emergence of a new food borne pathogen (eg bacteria that can cause illness) with public health significance  or other health issue

  • Changes in legislation

Scheduled

  • All HACCP plans should have built into them a scheduled review; this should take place at a prescribed time interval even if nothing has changed. At an absolute minimum this should be annually and cover all areas of the HACCP plan. Any changes should be recorded and a risk analysis done to ensure that the HACCP plan is still capable of producing safe food.

Once a review has occurred it must be documented even if nothing has changed.  Those responsible for carrying out a review (usually the HACCP team in larger businesses) need to ensure that the proposed change does not adversely affect conclusions reached in the HACCP study and compromise product safety, and that the HACCP study is kept up-to-date.

Documentation and Records

Records of validation and verification studies are to be kept as evidence that they have been carried out successfully and to assist with a due-diligence defence.