Seven Principles of HACCP
HACCP is based on seven principles:
- To Conduct a Hazard Analysis
This is to evaluate the various processes and identify the areas where hazards can be introduced. There are three types of Hazards –
- Physical Hazards: include metal contamination.
- Chemical Hazards: can a cleaning product contaminate the product, are there poisons that could contaminate the product? or
- Biological Hazards: at what points could bacteria or viruses contaminate the product?
For proper and accurate evaluation the knowledge of an expert is very essential. In case sufficient expertise is not available within the organization to identify the various hazards then the help of external resources can be utilized to perform the hazard analysis.
The hazard analyses are performed in two steps, Identification & Evaluation of hazards. While hazard identifications refer to the detections of various hazards, the evaluation process refers to the determination of the degree of risk to the user from the identified hazard.
- Identify the Critical Control Points
Once the hazard is identified and estimated the team must recognize critical control points. These are points where the risk must be controlled or it will present a risk to the end-user.
For each critical control point, one has\ to identify the preventive measure. How will you prevent the hazard? Use of specific Temperature, ph, time, procedures?
To prevent the hazard one has to build a maximum or minimum limit for temperature, time, pH, salt level, chlorine level or another processing characteristic that will control the hazard. This is the critical limit for the CCP. If this limit is ever exceeded improving action must be taken, and all affected product managed.
- Establish Critical Limits
The next step is to build criteria for the specific critical control point. What are the criteria that must be met to control the hazard at that point? E.g., if the temperature is considered as the criteria then is it a minimum temperature? Are there managerial limits that you must meet for this control point?
- Establish Monitoring Procedures
What is to be measured and how do you measure it?
Then process at the critical control points is to be measured and records maintained to show that the critical limit is being met. If continuous monitoring is not possible then procedures should be developed to determine to go often the measurements need to be performed to show that the process is under control and within the regulatory requirements.
The observation that happens at the critical control points is necessary for the effectiveness of the HACCP program. The checking system will be comprised of physical measurements or observations that should be possible quickly, to give the data in a time period that permits you to make a move and control the product if an out of control situation occurs.
- Establish Corrective Actions
If in any possible outcome the critical limit is not met then we have to establish possible actions that need to be taken which have to be identified ahead of time for each CCP. This will ensure that no unsafe product is being released. Also at the same time process evaluation should be done to find the root cause of the problem and find possible ways for the elimination of the cause.
When corrective actions are determined before an out of control situation arises, it helps to control any non-conforming products resulting from the loss of control along with elimination and prevention of the same situation afterward. It helps in the preparedness to take action quickly whenever there is an out of control situation.
- Establish Record Keeping Procedures
Proper records have to be maintained to show that the critical limits have been met and the establishment of the system control. Address regulative specifications and include records from the improvement of the system and the operation of the system.
- Establish Verification Procedures
The HACCP plan must be validated. We need to check that the plan implemented is effective in preventing the hazards identified. We need to test the end product verifying its conformity, to check that the controls are working as planned. Perform ongoing verification of the system. Are measuring and monitoring equipment in control? What are the corrective actions showing? Are records being maintained as required?