The 7 Principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System

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HACCP is pro-active system of managing food risk and was originally developed by NASA scientists in the 1950s in order to protect astronauts from food poisoning whilst on space missions, something that could prove catastrophic.

Later the EU and most developed countries had implemented HACCP principles into food safety law.

Within businesses, the HACCP system is developed by owners and managers however responsibility for its implementation lies with all of the employees of the business.

The 7 core principles of HACCP

HACCP is based on the following seven key principles:

1. Conduct a hazard analysis – Inspect your environment meticulously to identify where any food safety hazards are, and the amount of risk that each of these hazards carry. A food hazard can be any chemical, biological or physical element that effects food safety.

2. Identify critical control points– A critical control point (CCP) is a step in a food handling process where controls can be applied to prevent or reduce any food safety hazard. Food businesses should identify controls which can be carried out to prevent the hazards identified.

3. Establish critical limits – Decide on specific safety limits to adhere to, these may be based on scientific research. For example, you might need to determine a minimum and maximum temperature level as a control for food stored in a refrigerator.

4. Establish monitoring procedures – Monitoring procedures need to then be implemented to ensure that critical control points are controlling the identified hazards. For example, if your control is based on temperature levels then you may action temperature checks and use monitoring forms to record times that these observations have been carried out.

5. Establish corrective actions – Corrective actions should be taken when a critical limit is likely to be, or has been exceeded. For example, if the fridge temperature becomes too high then you might relocate food to a fridge at the correct temperature, call an engineer or contact a manager.

6. Verify procedures – Each critical control point needs to be verified and checked regularly to ensure that the best procedures are in place to reduce and prevent hazards.

7. Document procedures – Every HACCP based system must be well documented using charts, instructions, monitoring records etc. This is to ensure that the system is working correctly and everyone is taking responsibility for food safety. An inspector will also ask to see hazard analysis system records.

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