For food manufacturing and food services establishments, there is a mandatory system that they must fulfill to serve their customers and clients. HACCP systems serve a critical role in the food industry, and organizations must adhere to these standards. Set up a HACCP plan for your business today. What is a HACCP plan, and what safeguards does it provide to an organization, its employees, and customers. Continue reading the article below to find out more about a HACCP plan, including its definition, components, and construction process, with answers to frequently asked questions by different individuals. The article also contains samples for download to start a HACCP plan for your business.

55+ SAMPLE HACCP Control Plans

What Is a HACCP Plan?

By definition, HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. HACCP serves a systematic and preventative approach stemming from a particular development by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) during the 1960s. Currently, the HACCP plan focuses on a systematic method that provides a structured framework for monitoring the entire food system of an establishment, ranging from food harvesting to consumption, to reduce the risk of hazards and diseases. Federal and state regulatory agencies adopt the HACCP plan and system to many businesses. They also look into the HACCP systems for inspections and require HACCP plans for particular food products. The Bureau of Food and Drug Administration recommends the HACCP system to different establishments as it is the most effective and efficient system and preventive control chart structure to guarantee the safety of all food items.

According to a research report from entitled Assessing the Effectiveness of HACCP Implementation and Maintenance dated February 2004, with participating companies as food manufacturing plants, a total of 95 percent of participants possess formally documented food safety policies that are well communicated to its employees. About 93 percent of companies have a HACCP team that formulates HACCP plans and implements the processes.

The Seven Principles of HACCP Plans

HACCP plans are standardized systems with recognition from the different state and federal regulatory agencies. The implementation of these plans follows specific components and principles. Below are the seven principles of HACCP that support the identification, evaluation, and control of food safety hazards, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Conduct a Hazard Analysis: Effective hazard identification and analysis is key to the first principle. Food safety hazards are any biological, chemical, or physical agent in food items with the possibility to cause adverse health conditions to consumers. Create a list of possible food hazards for the ingredients of food products or restaurant dishes for consumers. Make the ingredient list as detailed as possible. Include all the raw materials and other components, the environment, food storage, distribution, and preparation. These details will go through intense risk analysis and evaluation to classify the potential hazards it can cause, including the conditions that lead to them. It is critical to identify these as it contributes to the identification of prevention and control.Determine the Critical Control Points: A critical control point is a necessary step of executing action plans to prevent, lessen, or eliminate food safety hazards. Not all identified risks and their accompanying preventative measures have critical control points. The application of logical decision-making processes determines and classifies whether the method is a critical control point. The decision-making strategy includes various factors, including control at a particular stage is necessary to safety, control eliminates or lessens the likelihood of hazard occurrences, hazard contamination exceeds the acceptable levels, and subsequent steps that prevent or stop the hazard.Establish Critical Limits: Critical limits are criteria that are measurable and observable. It aims to separate acceptable limits of various food items concerning a specific control measure during a critical control point. The critical limits concerning control measures for each critical control point (CCP) must be specific and scientifically valid as proof that they are capable of preventing or eliminating hazards during accurate implementation. The basis for critical limits includes existing literature, guidelines, regulations, policy and procedures within a similar industry or a third-party investigator. Criteria consist of different elements like time, temperature, humidity, water and pH levels, and sensory measures like visual appearances and texture. Set Monitoring Procedures: Monitoring procedures are scheduled observations and measurements of assessing the status of critical control points and producing accurate documentation for future verification processes. It is a crucial element of a HACCP system. Workers responsible for observing critical control levels must possess adequate knowledge and training in handling and carrying out corrective action plan. Monitoring procedures must clearly define the processes of taking the measurements, measurement schedules, monitoring individuals, and frequency of tracking critical control points.Establish Corrective Actions: Corrective actions are specific procedures or action plans to follow the results of the monitoring, especially if the CCP does not meet limits. The purpose of HACCP systems is to prevent hazards and correct situations before affecting food safety. Management must set up preventive actions to achieve proper levels in establishing critical limits. As such, these actions initiate immediately when CCP limits exceed. When food processing plants determine corrective procedures, they must guarantee that countermeasures can settle any discrepancies. Validate HACCP Plans: HACCP plans must undergo validation before establishments can implement them. It must undergo a thorough review to guarantee that all necessary elements of the plan are capable of controlling the significant hazards that affect food safety. The validation process includes literature reviews, mathematical models, validation sources, and guides by authoritative sources. After the implementation of HACCP systems, procedures must verify that the HACCP plan is in order and that identified hazards are under control. Changes that can positively influence food safety require reviews from the HACCP system and revalidation of HACCP plans. These verification procedures include a variety of methods, processes, tests, and other relevant evaluations to determine compliance with HACCP plans. Calibration tests, direct observations, product sampling, records review, and inspection are some examples of validation activities.Establish Record Keeping and Documentation Procedures: It is essential to keep accurate HACCP records in a HACCP system. HACCP procedures, including hazard analysis, critical control point determination, and critical limit identification, must have proper documentation. Management must also have records of monitoring activities, deviations, corrective actions, HACCP plan modifications, HACCP teams, and verification procedures.

How To Develop a HACCP Plan

With a general understanding of the principles surrounding a HACCP plan, you can now start to develop a HACCP plan for your company. Like in any other planning process, it is essential to collect all the necessary information to include in the document. The fact-finding method or preliminary steps help settle the HACCP plan. Below are the five steps to follow.

  • Step 1: Establish the HACCP Team

    The first step in developing a HACCP plan is to assemble individuals for your HACCP team. The role of the people working in the team is to gather the necessary information for the Planning Process. The HACCP team must be aware of the food product and process, food safety programs, food safety hazards of concern, and the seven principles of HACCP. HACCP teams don’t need to have many members. For smaller companies, having one individual in the team is enough. What matters is the team functions effectively and meets its responsibilities. The HACCP team begins to collect data from internal and external sources. External sources are available in state and federal agencies, trade and professional associations, consultants, universities, and libraries.

  • Step 2: Describe the Product

    Before any hazard analysis process, a full description of the product, including its customer specifications, must include relevant information to a safe consumption. The safety information labeling must include details such as mycotoxin regulation, physical and chemical properties of ingredients, water, and pH levels. It must also indicate packaging, durability and storage conditions, and Transportation Requirements. The information must be visible on the labels of food products to help identify real health hazards in line with the product processing.

  • Step 3: Identify the Product’s Intended Use

    The HACCP plan must include the intended use of the product. It must contain information on whether the Food Items are consumed directly, be cooked, or further processed. Identifying the intended use will have a significant impact on the hazard analysis and overall safety of food products. The nature of the target population also becomes relevant, especially if it specifies susceptible groups to hazards such as infants, elderly or malnourished individuals. Misuse of a product must also be on the product label.

  • Step 4: Draw Up the Commodity Flow Diagram

    After identifying the composition and product use, the HACCP team must construct a detailed commodity Flow Diagram of the commodity system. The company can bring in the expertise of a commodity specialist to have the relevant knowledge in creating the document. Take note that commodity systems vary in different places and are present in different variants. For each manufacturing establishment, detailed secondary processing must be present using generic flows as a guide.

  • Step 5: On-Site Confirmation of the Commodity Flow Diagram

    After the completion of the commodity flow diagram, members of the HACCP team must visit the manufacturing location for comparison on the available data in the document with the actual processes and practices happening on site. A step-by-step process practice is performed by the HACCP team to check if all the information on the commodity flow diagram is accurate, including the materials, practices, and controls. Information like drying procedures, storage conditions, grading systems, processing systems, and collection procedures are present in the diagram as necessary. The processing and manufacturing sites must have Daily Inspections to ensure that procedures and information are accurate.


Do organizations need a HACCP plan?

The HACCP plan is necessary for each food and processing system that a food business employs because each food product and the processes of its production pose various risks and hazards to consumers that require appropriate risk management plan processes.

What are the four types of food hazards?

The four types of food hazards that companies must be aware of are microbiological hazards, chemical hazards, physical hazards, and allergens.

What foods require the HACCP plan?

HACCP requires processing for most food items, including meat, poultry, juice, seafood, and all other food processing business under the Food Safety Modernization Act 2010.

Creating a HACCP plan protects the food manufacturing business and its consumers. An organization geared toward preventing health hazards and risks to its customers will have loyal customers lining up to buy their products. Customer loyalty is one of the many factors that contribute to the success of large companies, and HACCP plans guarantee that businesses retain their market. Start the journey of reassuring consumers that the company follows all the necessary protocols for the food they consume. Download HACCP plan samples available in the article above today!