Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a technique and a thought process that treats the storage, preparation and service of food as a continuous system. This system is broken down into its logical components and each and each is evaluated by failure analysis. The premise is simple: if each step of the process is carried out correctly, the end product will be safe food.

Steps to Establish System
The steps outlined by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods for the establishment of any HACCP system are:
  • Assessment of internal risks
  • Determination of the Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  • Determination of the critical limits of the CCPs
  • Establishment of Procedures to monitor the CCPs
  • Establishment of corrective actions when limits of the CCPs are exceeded
  • Establishment of procedures to verify that the HACCP plan or system is working
  • Establishment of a system of effective documentation
HACCP is essentially the charting of food flows over time to identify food safety hazards, and to see that these hazards are controlled. In the establishment of an internal HACCP system, an operator would physically follow all potentially hazardous foods through production. Food flows and hazards can be discovered and critical items can be noted and discussed.

Charting Food Flows
Charting food flows is a crucial step in any HACCP study. Food preparation must be followed from beginning to end. Remember that the purpose of charting food flow is to provide a clear, but simple, description of the steps involved in the food process. The following steps outline the procedures for charting food flows.
  • Start at the beginning. This may be the storage of raw product or even the receiving of deliveries.
  • Identify each process step with a box and name.
  • Write down information at each step for:
    • Ambient Air and Product Temperature (Initial and Final)
    • Any other relevant notes
    • Contamination sources
    • Handling observations
    • Personal Hygiene
    • Time
  • Connect each operation with a flow arrow.
  • Chart any loops or side operations.
  • Take continuous measurements of observations during the process. Examples include temperatures during cooking, cooling, reheating, and cold and hot holding.