Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is an approach to food safety that is systematic and preventive. It is recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the United Nations international standards organization for food safety. HACCP is used by most countries around the world. It has been in use since the 1960s.
HACCP goes beyond inspecting finished food products. It helps to find, correct, and prevent hazards throughout the production process. These include physical, chemical, and biological hazards.
There are seven universally-accepted HACCP principles. Every country that uses HACCP follows these principles.
Principle 1: The first principle is hazard analysis. At this stage, a plan is laid out to identify
- all possible food safety hazards that could cause a product to be unsafe for consumption, and
- the measures that can be taken to control those hazards.
Principle 2: The second principle is identifying critical control points. These are the points in the production process where an action can be taken to prevent, eliminate, or reduce a food safety hazard to an acceptable level.
Principle 3: The third principle is establishing critical limits for each critical control point. A critical limit is the limit at which a hazard is acceptable without compromising food safety.
Principle 4: The fourth principle is establishing monitoring procedures for critical control points. Highly detailed monitoring activities are essential to make sure the process continues to operate safely and within the critical limits at each critical control point.
Principle 5: The fifth principle is crucial: establishing corrective actions. These actions must be taken to bring the production process back on track if monitoring indicates that deviation from critical limits has occurred. In food production, correcting problems before end-stage production is far more effective than waiting until a product is finished to test it.
Principle 6: The sixth principle is establishing verification procedures. Verification means applying methods, procedures, tests, sampling and other evaluations (in addition to monitoring) to determine whether a control measure at a critical control point is or has been operating as intended. Verification activities also ensure that the monitoring and the corrective actions are done according to a company’s written HACCP program.
Principle 7: The seventh principle is record keeping. Records must be kept by the company to
- demonstrate the effective application of the critical control points, and
- assist with official verification (which is done, in Canada, by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency).
Records must be established to document
- the monitoring and verification results, and
- all information and actions taken in response to any deviations found through monitoring and verification.
In 2005, HACCP became mandatory in Canada for federally-registered meat and poultry establishments. (The legislation that pertains to this is the Meat Inspection Regulations). In these establishments, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) uses the Compliance Verification System to verify an establishment’s compliance to their HACCP system. In federally-registered fish establishments, the principles of HACCP are followed under the Quality Management Program, or QMP.
HACCP is not mandatory in federally-registered dairy, processed product, egg, honey, maple and hatchery establishments. However, the CFIA strongly recommends that these establishments adopt HACCP.
Developing, implementing, and maintaining a HACCP system is industry’s responsibility. This is because food manufacturers have the most control over the products they manufacture, so they have the greatest impact on the safety of their products.
- HACCP establishments in Canada
- Detailed information on HACCP is available from the Food Safety Enhancement Program Implementation Manual
- Quality Management Program, including detailed guidance on implementing a HACCP-based plan
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