What are the 12 Steps to build a HACCP plan?

  1. Assemble a team to initiate the food safety system
  2. Describe the Product
  3. Identify intended use
  4. Construct flow diagram
  5. Onsite Confirmation of the flow diagram
  6. List all potential hazards – Hazard Analysis – List Control measures.
  7. Determine CCPs.
  8. Establish validated critical limits for each CCP
  9. Establish a monitoring system for each CCP
  10. Deploy Corrections and Corrective actions
  11. Validate the HACCP plan and establish verification procedures
  12. Create a documentation and record keeping system

This article gives a step-by-step guide to create a HACCP system whereby the output is the HACCP plan.

First of all, what does haccp stand for?

  • HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.
  • A HACCP system implementation can be mandatory or voluntary or both.
  • HACCP is a tool for identifying and reducing any food safety risk which could lead to unsafe food.

Assemble a HACCP team

  • You need a food safety team to define and manage the scope of HACCP implementation.
  • The HACCP scope defines to food processing business areas where HACCP is applied.
  • The food safety team needs to include at least a HACCP leader and a HACCP coordinator.
  • The role of these stakeholders is to consolidate the inhouse expertise for the deployment of the HACCP system.

Describe the Product

A product description sheet is a documented information for the final product. This document should include at least the following information:

  • Picture of the product.
  • Compositional data such as ingredients.
  • Presence of preservatives and allergens.
  • Technical information such as pH, water activity.
  • Processing methods/technologies (i.e. heat-treatment, freezing, drying, brining, smoking, etc.).
  • Information about the final packaging.
  • Method of distribution to maintain integrity of the product.
  • Shelf life, best storage conditions before and after product opening.

Identify Product Intended Use

This can be described as normal expected use of the food. Examples of this requirement would include:

  • Ready to eat product.
  • Ingredient to be incorporated within a beverage formulation.
  • Product not recommended for sensitive persons.
  • Product containing intrinsically seeds which may harm vulnerable people (> 77 years old…)

Construct flow diagram Or Process flow

  • A flow diagram includes the process steps from raw materials until finished products.
  • The Food safety team’s role is to map each process step.
  • You can use SAAS drawing tools such as LucidChart for the process mapping exercise.

Onsite Confirmation of the flow diagram

  • The designated food safety members will draft the process flow.
  • All the members will then review the drafted version.
  • Once all the review is done, the final flow is validated through initials or signatures.

List all potential hazards – Hazard Analysis – List Control measures

  1. Identifying potential hazards specific to your business
    • Every food business has its own unique hazards that need to be identified. These can include biological, chemical, and physical hazards.
    • It is essential to conduct a thorough analysis of the entire production process to identify areas where hazards may arise.
  2. Collecting relevant data and information
    • The food safety team needs to gather data from previous records (quality, complaint).
    • This information is crucial in understanding and assessing potential hazards within the system.
    • As a result, this exercise will help in developing effective control measures.
  3. List of Control measures
    • Gather all good practices (Good hygiene practices, Training procedures…).
    • Characteristic of process steps.
    • Intrinsic Product Property.

Determine Critical Control Points

The proper usage of the following tool is highly recommended to identify Critical Control Points:

  • Codex Decision tree
  • HRN methodology
  • Client Decision tree for e.g. Coke requirements
  • Client threshold for specific identified hazard limits

Once the method has been chosen, you will conduct a Hazard Assessment to determine the critical control point.

Please click here for more details regarding the Hazard Assessment.

Establish validated critical limits for each CCP

  • Critical limits are important parameters for which the final product is safe for consumption.
  • By putting critical limits for each control point, we allow the floor team to manage easily the food safety hazard.
  • The use of referential guideline is highly recommended to confirm the critical limits.
  • The referential document includes scientific guidelines, statutory regulations, industrial practices and legal requirements.
  • A typical example could be as follows:
  • A physical hazard can be found tolerable for size 7 to 25mm for a population of 7 to 77 years old.

Establish a monitoring system for each CCP

  1. Selecting appropriate monitoring methods would include the following tasks:
    • Monitoring procedures involve regular checks to ensure that critical control points are within acceptable limits.
    • The methods employed can include visual inspections, temperature monitoring, microbial testing, and other relevant techniques.
  2. Regular training of relevant staff / operator would be needed for accurate monitoring.

Deploy Corrections and Corrective actions

  1. Establishing protocols for deviations
    • Isolated deviations from critical limits or unexpected events may occur during food production.
    • Protocols are developed to correct these deviations promptly. This is also known as “Correction”.
    • If there is a trend of deviations, a root cause analysis followed by a documented Corrective action would be required.

Establishing verification procedures

  1. Regular audits and inspections
    • Audit and inspection form part of the verification activities.
    • These exercises are important that the HACCP system is effectively implemented.
    • Audits are conducted on a regular basis to provide an unbiased assessment of the system.
  2. Continuous improvement through verification
    • Verification serves not only to assess compliance but also to identify areas for improvement within the food safety system.
    • By continuously evaluating and refining the system, businesses can enhance their food safety practices and mitigate potential risks.

Create a documentation and record keeping system

  1. Documenting HACCP plans and procedures
    • Comprehensive documentation of HACCP plans and procedures provides a roadmap for the implementation and maintenance of the system.
    • Detailed documentation ensures consistency and enables effective communication within the organization.
  2. Reviewing and updating documentation regularly
    • Documentation should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in processes, regulations, or industry standards.
    • This ensures that the HACCP system remains relevant and effective in safeguarding food safety.
  3. Creating structured record-keeping processes:
    • A documentation procedure would be useful to ensure that all documented information (Records, Forms, Work Instructions..) remains legible, traceable and ease communication.
    • Accurate record-keeping is crucial for documenting the implementation of the HACCP system.
    • A structured approach ensures that all relevant information, including monitoring results, corrective actions, and verification records, is properly recorded.
  4. Ensuring accessibility and confidentiality:
    • Records should be easily accessible for authorized personnel and kept confidential to protect sensitive business information and maintain data integrity.
    • Implementing appropriate data management systems ensures the security and traceability of records.

Benefits of Implementing HACCP

  • Minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses | By systematically analyzing and controlling hazards, HACCP minimizes the risks associated with foodborne illnesses. This is crucial in preventing outbreaks and maintaining public health.
  • Ensuring food safety and consumer confidence | Implementing HACCP enables businesses to proactively identify and control hazards, reducing the potential for foodborne illnesses. This helps protect consumers and maintain their confidence in the safety of the products.
  • Compliance with international food safety standards | Implementing HACCP ensures compliance with international food safety standards, such as those established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This allows food businesses to access global markets and demonstrates their commitment to food safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

a) How often should HACCP plans be reviewed and updated?

At least once per year or when there is a significant change within the system.

b) How we can speed the HACCP deployment?

  • If inhouse expertise is insufficient, you would need to seek the advice of a food safety consultant.
  • You can use online platform such as HACCP mentor for rapid deployment.

c) What are the consequences of non-compliance with HACCP?

  • If HACCP system is mandatory and you have been found non-compliant with respect to this requirements, your business can be seriously impacted in terms of penalties as set by the statutory requirements.
  • If HACCP system is voluntary and certified, the worst case scenario would be the removal of the HACCP certification. This can limit access to certain market where this client requirement is not respected.

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