The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) are a set of principles which create a preventative approach to food safety management. The HACCP principles involve identifying hazards throughout the food production process and implementing controls to reduce these hazards. The HACCP principles prioritise consumer health and safety, by ensuring that food businesses implement necessary procedures to eliminate hazards. The HACCP principles help to reduce food poisoning and foodborne illnesses as a result. Understanding the HACCP principles is of the utmost importance.
What does HACCP stand for?
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.
What are the HACCP principles?
Conduct a Hazard Analysis:
Food businesses are required to identify where food safety hazards are located throughout the food production journey. Once a hazard has been identified, the level of risk associated with the hazard must be taken into consideration.
Food safety hazards could be biological, chemical, physical or allergenic. For example, physical hazards such as glass could break in the kitchen and be found within food, which will result in serious harm to a consumer's health if it is ingested. Therefore, all types of hazards such as this must be accounted for.
Identify Critical Control Points (CCP):
A Critical Control Point (CCP) is a step in the process of handling food where a control measure could be implemented to eliminate or reduce a potential hazard. If a CCP is not carried out effectively, food safety hazards will remain, and this can result in food poisoning.
- The process of cooking food
- The process of re-heating food
- The process of cooling food
- The process of holding food
Food businesses should consider all steps within the above processes to identify if there is an opportunity to implement a control measure, in the hope to eliminate any potential hazards.
Establish Critical Limits:
Food businesses must establish critical limits, which will identify whether a CCP is effectively controlling the identified hazard. Critical limits should be measured or observed, to see whether the hazard is being effectively controlled.
Critical limits include:
- pH Conditions
- Salt Level
- Chlorine Level
- Water Activity
Establish Monitoring Procedures:
Monitoring procedures can be used to monitor whether CCPs are controlling the hazards effectively. For example, monitoring the rise or decline in temperature which food is being held at.
Establish Corrective Actions:
Corrective action should be used if a critical limit has been exceeded. This occurs if the critical limit is no longer suitable and therefore you need to implement a different action to ensure the hazard is still being reduced.
A CCP needs to be verified and checked regularly to ensure the hazard is being controlled in the most effective way possible.
Food businesses which implement HACCP principles must document these processes, to show local authorities and the Food Standards Agency that the HACCP principles have been appropriately complied with.
The HACCP principles are important for food safety and food hygiene within businesses. Therefore, it is important for food businesses to understand the HACCP principles and how to implement them properly.