Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.

Food establishments are not required to have HACCP plans, but it is recommended. The HACCP plan can:
  • Help ensure the safety of food products
  • Reduce the chance of food-born illness
  • Identify and document corrections that need to be made
  • May help protect facility owners from potential legal actions when properly implemented
HACCP can be divided into two parts
  1. A flow diagram that identifies the journey of the food received from an approved vendor to the time the food is served to the consumer. Click here for an example of a flow chart using the production of hamburgers as an example
  2. Identification of potential hazards. The HACCP plan follows seven principles:
    • Conduct a hazard analysis – Plans determine the food safety hazards and identify preventive measures.Identify critical control points – A critical control point is a point, step, or procedure in a food manufacturing process at which control can be applied and, as a result, a food safety hazard can be reduced or eliminated.
    • Establish critical limits for each critical control point – A critical limit is the maximum or minimum value to which hazards must be controlled at a critical control point.
    • Establish critical control point monitoring requirements. – Monitoring activities are necessary to ensure that the process is under control at each critical control point.

      Click here for an example of production of hamburgers

    • Establish corrective actions. – An important purpose of corrective actions is to prevent foods which may be hazardous from reaching consumers. Where there is a deviation from established critical limits, corrective actions are necessary.
    • The HACCP plan should specify what is done when a deviation occurs, who is responsible for implementing the corrective actions and what records will be developed and maintained of the actions taken. This way, future mistakes will be prevented or lessened.
    • Establish procedures for ensuring the HACCP system is working as intended. – Validation ensures that the facilities follow the HACCP plans that have been developed through monitoring all aspects of the HACCP Plan.
    • Establish record keeping procedures. – The HACCP regulation requires that all facilities maintain certain documents, including its hazard analysis and written HACCP plan, and records documenting the monitoring of critical control points, critical limits, verification activities, and the handling of processing deviations.
For more information on HACCP, visit the Food and Drug Administration website.