Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, HACCP

What are the principles of HACCP?

The 7 principles of a HACCP System may be summarised as ,

1. Conduct a Hazard analysis. Prepare a list of steps in the process where significant hazards occur and describe preventative measures.

This is an extension of the Process Flow Diagram/Process Audit Chart which can be constructed to record all aspects of the process.

A major part of doing a hazard analysis is knowing what to look for and questions to ask and how to use the information after it is obtained.

Hazards may arise in bought in materials. A Supplier Quality Assurance, SQA, system will be needed which, in effect, means that the suppliers are applying the HACCP system.

Hazards may not be to consumers of the food they may relate to operatives in the factory.

2. Identify the Critical Control Points (CCPs) in the process.

Define all the control points, decide which have most affect and are therefore the critical ones.

3. Establish Critical Limits for preventative measures associated with each identified CCP.

These will define when product must be rejected or the process/production stopped until the problem is resolved.

4. Establish CCP monitoring requirements. Establish procedures from the results of monitoring to adjust the process and maintain control.

In biscuit manufacturing safety problems/hazards are mostly to do with contamination by foreign bodies. Thus the results of monitoring are mostly to do with product rejection and searches for the sources of the contamination.

5. Establish corrective actions to be taken when monitoring indicates a deviation from an established critical limit. This principle has little application in typical biscuit manufacturing in the field of product safety.

6. Establish effective record-keeping procedures that document the HACCP System.

All "finds" must be recorded in detail, along with "finds" reported by customers. Any articles of contamination should be kept, if possible, as reference for the future in case the incident is unresolved and it happens again.

7. Establish procedures for verification that the HACCP System in working correctly.

A control system is not good enough unless it is regularly reviewed and improved.