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5 Key Points to Understand the HACCP System

· 4 min read
Israel Munguia

If you have recognized the need to implement a robust food safety management system and are considering HACCP, here are 5 key points covering everything you need to know about this important methodology.

1. What is HACCP?

HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is the most basic system that can be implemented to ensure food safety. For this reason, it is the preferred choice when taking the first steps in small and medium-sized businesses. While it is not a requirement to start with HACCP and then progress to more comprehensive systems, it is an excellent option to start, especially if your company lacks any controls to ensure food safety.

2. The Principles of HACCP

In HACCP, its principles serve as the foundation for all food safety management systems. This means that its essence is present in all standards. This characteristic provides an advantage to companies opting to start with HACCP because as they move on to stricter standards, everything they have done remains relevant, and they only need to add new requirements.

3. HACCP Requirements

HACCP divides its requirements into three fundamental segments, which should be implemented in your company following the order I will detail:

Implementation of Prerequisite Programs (PRPs)

PRPs are controls that you must implement to strengthen your process and protect it from external hazards. This creates a conducive environment for operations. Examples of prerequisites include pest control, Good Personal Hygiene Practices, and control of cross-contamination.

Preliminary Activities

These are five activities that must be carried out in the company before starting the hazard analysis. These activities aim to collect all information related to the process, raw materials, and the product to subsequently conduct a hazard analysis. Preliminary activities include:

  • Assembling the HACCP team and defining the scope.
  • Describing the food and its distribution.
  • Describing the intended use and consumers of the food.
  • Preparing a flowchart describing the process.
  • Verifying the flowchart on-site.

The 7 HACCP Principles

In this segment, all requirements for analyzing hazards, whether physical, chemical, or biological, that pose a risk to food safety are found. These risks can come from raw materials, processes, handling, product nature, among others. Once each hazard is assessed, and control measures are defined, Critical Control Points (CCPs), the HACCP plan, and more are established.

  • PRINCIPLE 1 Conduct a hazard analysis and identify control measures.

  • PRINCIPLE 2 Determine Critical Control Points (CCPs).

  • PRINCIPLE 3 Establish validated critical limits.

  • PRINCIPLE 4 Establish a system to monitor the control of CCPs.

  • PRINCIPLE 5 Establish corrective actions to take when monitoring indicates a deviation from a critical limit at a CCP.

  • PRINCIPLE 6 Validate the HACCP plan and then establish verification procedures to confirm that the HACCP system works as intended.

  • PRINCIPLE 7 Establish documentation related to all appropriate procedures and records for these principles and their implementation.

4. HACCP Accreditation

It is important to note that HACCP accreditation in a company is not recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as a food safety management system. Therefore, a company implementing HACCP must continue working towards certification in programs like FSSC 22000, SQF, or PrimusGFS.

5. Where HACCP Can Be Implemented

HACCP can be implemented in any type of company that is part of the food supply chain, whether in agriculture, manufacturing, distribution, etc.

There you have it! With this information, you can now understand what HACCP is, and if you are considering which food safety management system to implement in your company, you know the pros and cons of HACCP.

In the next article, we will review everything you need to know about the ISO 22000 standard to further expand your options in ensuring food safety.


Learn more about HACCP at our Free Learning Center.