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Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is an internationally recognized system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or HACCP is a systematic preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes that can cause the finished product to be unsafe, and designs measurements to reduce these risks to a safe level.
HACCP Basic Principles:-
HACCP is a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation, and control of food safety hazards based on the following seven principles:
Principle 1: Conduct a hazard analysis.
The application of this principle involves listing the steps in the process and identifying where significant hazards are likely to occur. The HACCP team will focus on hazards that can be prevented, eliminated or controlled by the HACCP plan. A justification for including or excluding the hazard is reported and possible control measures are identified.
Principle 2: Determine the critical control points (CCPs).
A critical control point (CCP) is a point, step or procedure at which control can be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels. The HACCP team will use a CCP decision tree to help identify the critical control points in the process. A critical control point may control more that one food safety hazard or in some cases more than one CCP is needed to control a single hazard. The number of CCP’s needed depends on the processing steps and the control needed to assure food safety.
Principle 3: Establish critical limits.
A critical limit (CL) is the maximum and/or minimum value to which a biological, chemical or physical parameter must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate, or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of a food safety hazard. The critical limit is usually a measure such as time, temperature, water activity (Aw), pH, weight, or some other measure that is based on scientific literature and/or regulatory standards.
Principle 4: Establish monitoring procedures.
The HACCP team will describe monitoring procedures for the measurement of the critical limit at each critical control point. Monitoring procedures should describe how the measurement will be taken when the measurement is taken, who is responsible for the measurement and how frequently the measurement is taken during production.
Principle 5: Establish corrective actions.
Corrective actions are the procedures that are followed when a deviation in a critical limit occurs. The HACCP team will identify the steps that will be taken to prevent potentially hazardous food from entering the food chain and the steps that are needed to correct the process. This usually includes identification of the problems and the steps taken to assure that the problem will not occur again.
Principle 6: Establish verification procedures.
Those activities, other than monitoring, that determine the validity of the HACCP plan and that the system is operating according to the plan. The HACCP team may identify activities such as auditing of CCP’s, record review, prior shipment review, instrument calibration and product testing as part of the verification activities.
Principle 7: Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures.
A key component of the HACCP plan is recording information that can be used to prove that the food was produced safely. The records also need to include information about the HACCP plan. A record should include information on the HACCP Team, product description, flow diagrams, the hazard analysis, the CCP’s identified, Critical Limits, Monitoring System, Corrective Actions, Recordkeeping Procedures, and Verification Procedures.
HACCP includes steps designed to identify food safety risks, prevent food safety hazards before they occur, and address legal compliance. The most important aspect of HACCP is that it is a preventive system rather than an inspection system of controlling food safety hazards. Prevention of hazards cannot be accomplished by end product inspection. Controlling the production process with HACCP offers the best approach.
Implementing HACCP in 12 steps:-
- Assemble a HACCP team with the appropriate product-specific knowledge and expertise to develop an effective Food Safety Plan. The team should comprise individuals familiar with all aspects of the production process, plus specialists with expertise in specific areas, such as engineering or microbiology. It may be necessary to use external sources of expertise in some cases.
- Describe the product in full detail, including composition, physical/chemical structure, microbial/static treatments, packaging, storage conditions, and distribution methods.
- Identify the intended/expected use of the product by the end user. It is also important to identify the consumer target groups. Vulnerable groups, such as children or the elderly, may need to be considered specifically.
- Construct a flow diagram that provides an accurate representation of each step in the manufacturing process—from raw materials to end product—and may include details of the factory and equipment layout, ingredient specifications, features of equipment design, time/temperature data, cleaning and hygiene procedures, and storage conditions.
- Perform an on-site confirmation of the flow diagram to confirm that it is aligned with actual operations. The operation should be observed at each stage and any discrepancies between the diagram and normal practice should be recorded and amended. It is essential that the flow diagram is accurate since the hazard analysis and identification of Critical Control Points (CCPs) rely on the data it contains.
- Conduct a hazard analysis for each process steps to identify any biological, chemical, or physical hazards. This assessment also includes rating the hazard using a risk matrix, determining if the hazard is likely to occur, and identifying the preventive controls for the process step.
- Determine Critical Control Points (CCPs)—those areas where previously identified hazards may be eliminated. The final HACCP Plan will focus on the control and monitoring of the process at these points.
- Establish critical limits and develop processes that limit risk at CCPs. More than one critical limit may be defined for a single step. Criteria used to set critical limits must be measurable and include rating and ranking of hazards for each step of the flowchart.
- Monitor CCPs and develop processes for ensuring that critical limits are followed. Monitoring procedures must be able to detect loss of control at the CCP and should provide this information in time to make appropriate adjustments so that control of the process is regained before critical limits are exceeded. Where possible, process adjustments should be made when monitoring results indicate a trend towards a loss of control at a CCP.
- Establish preplanned corrective actions to be taken for each CCP in the HACCP plan that can then be applied when the CCP is not under control. If monitoring indicates a deviation from the critical limits for a CCP, action (e.g., proper isolation and disposition of affected product) must be taken that will bring it back under control.
- Establish procedures for verification to determine whether the HACCP system is working correctly. Verification procedures should include detailed reviews of all aspects of the HACCP system and its records. The documentation should confirm that CCPs are under control and should also indicate the nature and extent of any deviations from the critical limits and the corrective actions taken in each case.
- Establish proper documentation and recordkeeping for all HACCP processes to ensure that the business can verify that controls are in place and are being properly maintained.
Developing and implementing a HACCP program requires a significant investment of time and effort. Though HACCP continues to evolve, it is up to the company to design and customize HACCP programs to make them effective and workable. These twelve steps break HACCP into manageable chunks and will help ensure that the company is consistently and reliably producing safe food that will not cause harm to the consumer.