Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point

This is a system that was devised to provide quality assurance throughout the food industry by establishing critical monitoring (control) points. It is a requirement of EU food hygiene legislation that applies to all food business operators except farmers and growers.


The seven principles of HACCP:

Conduct a hazard analysis – Identify the food safety hazards associated with your business, e.g. multiplication of harmful bacteria.

Determine the critical control points – If there is no later stage in the process that will then make the food safe, e.g. cooking, then it is a CCP. An easy way to do this is to ask the question “What if?”

Establish critical limits – Temperature limits, below or above, which food will not be acceptable.

Monitor and control the CCP – If it cannot be monitored or measured , it is not a CCP. You cannot monitor by placing a hand in the fridge or looking at a food to say it is at the right temperature.

Establish correct actions – If a critical limit is exceeded, you must have a procedure in place to take remedial action, i.e. increase cooking time, lower fridge temperatures etc.

Establish verification procedures – How do you know that your temperatures are OK, unless you regularly calibrate your thermometer? This is just one example of verification.

Documenting records and procedures – Having gone through the whole process of HACCP, you will find it difficult to demonstrate your controls, unless you keep records of your actions.

Conscientious implementation of HACCP principles by plant operators demonstrates their commitment to food safety; improves employee awareness of their role in protecting consumers and emphasises management’s responsibility for safe production.