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HACCP 12-step process

Here's a 12-step process to implement a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) program into your facility:

1. Assemble a HACCP Team

  • The team should be multi-disciplinary and made up of individuals who are from different areas and have different expertise within the organization. Personnel to include in the team may include the following people:
    • HACCP Co-ordinator;
    • Upper Management representative;
    • Production Personnel (supervisors and/or line workers - shows ownership in program);
    • Quality Assurance/ Quality Control;
    • Maintenance and/or Engineering;
    • Shipping and Receiving;
    • Sanitation;
    • Purchasing;
    • Sales/ Marketing;
    • Consultant(s).
  • Limit the team to five to eight personnel.
  • Only bring in personnel where their expertise is required (e.g. do not have an individual from the purchasing department present when determining procedures for cleaning).
  • Have one information centre, a person who gathers information and keeps the system going - usually HACCP Co-ordinator.
  • Set regular meeting times at a time convenient for most and limit meeting to less than two hours.

2. Describe the Product

Using Forms # 1 and # 2 of the HACCP plan, complete the following:

Form #1
  • Product name;
  • Important characteristics (water activity, pH, preservatives, salt, etc.);
  • How it is to be used (Ready to Eat, Further Cooking Required, etc.);
  • Packaging (gas flushed, vacuum packaged, plastic bags and then boxed, etc.);
  • Shelf life;
  • Where it will be sold (HRI - hotels, restaurants, institutions; further processing, etc.);
  • Labeling instructions;
  • Special distribution control - (transport in refrigerated carrier).
Form #2
  • List product ingredients and incoming materials;
  • Break ingredients and incoming materials down into categories. Be sure to only include those relevant to your process. Some examples of categories may include but are not limited to:
    • Meat
    • Raw materials
    • Water/ice
    • Spices/dry ingredients
    • Preservatives
    • Non-food products
    • Processing aids
    • Packaging materials
    • Rework
    • Others

3. Identify Intended Use

  • Emphasizes importance of certain demographics, in which more stringent regulations may be required. For example:
    • Hospital use;
    • Elderly;
    • Infants/children;
    • Special diets.

4. Process Flow & Plant Schematic

Use Forms # 3 and # 4 of the HACCP plan to complete the following:

Form # 3 - Process Flow
  • Start with incoming materials;
  • Keep it as simple as possible while not missing any processing steps;
  • Use arrows to show direction of flow;
  • Use shapes, shading, colour to indicate critical steps;
  • Make sure no minor crucial steps are missed;
  • Number steps for easy identification.
Form # 4 - Plant Schematic
  • Overhead view of plant;
  • Use coloured and/or different line types to distinguish between raw and cooked product;
  • Use a legend to clarify what each line means;
  • Include flow of raw product, employees handling raw products, ready to eat product, employees handling ready to eat products, packaging materials, waste (garbage) flows;
  • Include hand wash stations in schematic.

5. Onsite Verification

  • Go out into the facility and ensure that Forms 3 and 4 are accurate and reflecting the process - DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS STEP!
  • Follow product from start to finish to ensure no processing steps are missed (e.g. a storage step between processing and packaging, addition of rework is not being missed, etc.);
  • Look for correct plant schematic flows, look for "hidden passageways" employees or product may flow through, causing cross contamination.

6. List Hazards

  • HACCP Principle # 1 - Use Forms # 5, # 6, and # 7 of the HACCP plan
  • One of the most important steps (wrong analysis = inadequate system)
  • Start with form #2 (incoming materials), then proceed to form #3 (process flow) and finally form #4 (plant schematic)
  • List any biological, chemical or physical hazard that may be present for each incoming material (form #2), processing step (form #3), or cross contamination point on the plant schematic (form #4).
  • Explain type of hazard and why it may occur (e.g. biological hazard - due to time-temperature abuse).

7. Determine Critical Control Points

  • HACCP Principle #2 - Use Form # 8 of HACCP plan
  • Run each hazard through the CCP decision tree to determine how the hazard is controlled in the system;
  • Once each hazard has been run through the CCP Decision Tree, record where all hazards are controlled back onto forms #5, #6, and #7, then record all the hazards that cannot be controlled by the processor on form #9 and all CCPs on form #10.
  • Determine if the hazard is completely controlled by pre-requisite programs. 
    • If yes, list pre-requisite program bullet(s) used to control hazard and carry on with next hazard.
    • If no, proceed to question #1
  • Question #1
  • Could a control measure(s) be used by the operator to control the identified hazard at any processing step?
    • If yes, describe control measure and proceed to next question.
    • If no, identify how the identified hazard will be controlled before or after the manufacturing process and proceed to next question.
  • Question #2
  • Is it likely that contamination with the identified hazard could occur in excess of the acceptable level or could increase to an unacceptable level?
    • If yes, record and proceed to next question.
    • If no, not a CCP, identify how this hazard will be controlled before and after the process; proceed to the next identified hazard.
  • Question #3
  • Is this process step specifically designed to eliminate or reduce the likely occurrence of this identified hazard to an acceptable level?
    • If yes, this is a Critical Control Point and enter CCP # in last column of form #8.
    • If no, then proceed to next question.
  • Question #4
  • Will a subsequent step eliminate the identified hazard or reduce its likely occurrence to an acceptable level?
    • If yes, this is not a CCP. Identify subsequent step(s) to control identified hazard and proceed to next hazard.
    • If no, this is a CCP, enter CCP # in the last column of form #8.
  • Put methods of control onto forms 5, 6, and 7 for each hazard.

8. Establish Critical Limits

  • HACCP Principle #3 - Use Form #10 of the HACCP plan
  • Set the criteria that the CCP will operate within.  These parameters, if maintained within the boundaries, will confirm the safety of the food product.
  • Critical limits are set based on:
    • Government regulations
    • Company standards
    • Customer standards
    • Consumer complaints
    • Scientific data
    • Product history
    • Validation studies; or
    • A combination of the above

9. Establish Monitoring Procedures

  • HACCP Principle #4 - Use Form #10 of the HACCP plan
  • Explain the following:
    • Who will be responsible for monitoring?
    • What do they have to do? Exact step by step procedure to monitor the task to ensure critical limits are met.
    • How often is the task monitored?  Daily, every hour, each batch, etc.
    • Records that will be kept to prove the task has been monitored.

10. Establish Deviation Procedures

  • HACCP Principle #5 - Use Form #10 of the HACCP plan.
  • Explains the pre-determined steps to be taken should a problem occur.  Must include corrective actions to be taken on product, people, equipment, and area, as well as any preventative measures to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

11. Establish Verification Procedures

  • HACCP Principle #6 - Use Form #10 of the HACCP plan.
  • Procedures that take place to ensure that the HACCP plan is functioning correctly and procedures taking place as per the written program in the processing facility. There are two parts to verification: record and onsite verifications.

12. Establish Record Keeping Procedures

  • HACCP Principle #7 - Use Form #10 of the HACCP plan.
  • The in-plant record or check sheet created that contains the information to prove the system has met the required critical limits.
  • The records must also show that if a deviation occurred, what it was, how it was corrected and the preventative measures that were implemented to prevent the deviation from reoccurring.