Food Safety Practices Guidance For Spice Manufacturers
Appendix A: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Summary

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This guidance document and the HACCP Generic Model for spices were developed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in an effort to reduce the health risk(s) posed by the consumption of higher risk foods.

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is recognized as the most respected food processing concept in the world for enhancing the production of safe food. The HACCP approach involves the review of each step of the food manufacturing process, from start to finish, in order to identify every possible hazard or source of contamination. Hazards can be biological (e.g. pathogenic microorganisms), chemical (e.g. pesticides, allergens) or physical (e.g. extraneous material). For each identified hazard or source of contamination a reliable control or procedure is put in place to ensure that contamination does not occur or is controlled to an acceptable level.

A HACCP system is built on an establishment's existing food safety control program. The standard operating procedures developed and written by the establishment can be Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) or an adopted food safety code. In many HACCP guideline documents, these GMPs are referred to as prerequisite programs that represent the foundation of The HACCP Plan. The GMPs must be equivalent to the Recommended International Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) to ensure that adequate control exists over the environment in which the food processing is taking place.

It is generally recognized that in adopting The HACCP approach, a food processing establishment needs to carry out the following five preliminary tasks:

  1. Assemble a HACCP team with the expertise and knowledge to develop The HACCP Plan.
  2. Thoroughly describe the product and its intended use (e.g. common name, important product characteristic, shelf life, labelling instructions, etc.).
  3. List all product ingredients and incoming materials that come in contact with the product or are used in preparing the product.
  4. Develop an accurate and detailed Process Flow Diagram (from raw material receiving to finished product shipping) and Plant Schematic/Blueprint showing product and traffic flow.
  5. Verify the Process Flow Diagram and Plant Schematic on-site.

After completing the preliminary tasks, The HACCP team develops The HACCP Plan by applying the seven principles of HACCP to each food category processed.

Principle 1

Conduct a hazard analysis from the receiving of raw materials to the use of the finished product by the consumer.

Note: Information on food hazards (e.g. biological, chemical and physical hazards) can be obtained from scientific publications and industry associations.

Principle 2

Apply the HACCP decision tree to determine Critical Control Points (CCPs).

Principle 3

Establish critical limits, i.e. criteria that define acceptability and unacceptability of food products.

Principle 4

Establish monitoring procedures to ensure that the critical limits are being met.

Principle 5

Establish deviation procedures when monitoring at a CCP indicates a deviation from an established critical limit.

Principle 6

Establish procedures for verification to confirm the company's conformance to and the effectiveness of the HACCP Plan.

Principle 7

Establish documentation and records, including the HACCP Plan details, processing records, as well as HACCP -related monitoring and verification records.

The HACCP Generic Model, developed following the CFIA's Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP) approach, includes all of the seven principles outlined above. It provides information to be used by the establishment in developing a plant-specific HACCP Plan. The Generic Model includes an example of a process flow diagram and identifies possible food safety hazards associated with each step in the process. Using the Codex Alimentarius decision tree, the Generic Model determines the points in the process where Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in place at the facility do not control the potential hazard (Critical Control Points). For each of the Critical Control Points in the process, the Generic Model provides examples of:

  • procedures to be implemented in order to ensure that the hazard is controlled (i.e. monitoring procedures);
  • procedures to be implemented when monitoring determines that the hazard is no longer controlled and a possible food safety hazard could exist (i.e. deviation procedures); and,
  • procedures to be implemented to ensure that both the monitoring procedures and the deviation procedures are being followed and are effective in controlling the identified hazards (i.e. verification procedures).

It is hoped the HACCP Generic Model will provide guidance and information to manufacturers in developing their own HACCP plan. Each manufacturer must create its own process flow diagram according to its specific practices and procedures. Moreover, hazards and how they are controlled as described in the Generic Model will need to be changed where necessary to reflect a manufacturer's unique flow diagram and/or product characteristics.

Additional information on developing a HACCP Plan can be found in the FSEP Manual on the CFIA website.

This guidance document includes a proposed GMPs guide that could serve as a prerequisite program. As mentioned above, by implementing GMPs the manufacturer could control many of the hazards identified for each step in the process. This document also includes information on process controls. Both the Generic Model and this guidance document are intended to be tools for the food industry's voluntary use in creating a food safety control system.

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