HACCPSQI HACCP – Food Safety Management Certification

A fundamental approach to managing Food Safety risks is through implementing a HACCP system.

So what does HACCP mean?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.

It is a system that identifies, evaluates and controls hazards that are significant for food safety. HACCP can also be used to identify quality and regulatory hazards.

The development of a HACCP plan must identify and manage the following types of hazard: Biological, Chemical, Physical, Allergens, Quality, and Regulatory.

What do you need to know about HACCP?

  • HACCP is a science based systematic approach that identifies specific hazards and measures for their control to ensure the safety of food.
  • HACCP is a tool that focuses on prevention rather than relying on end-product testing.
  • HACCP can be applied through the food chain from primary production to final consumption and its implementation is guided by scientific evidence of risks to human health.

Why do you need HACCP?

To provide confidence in your product.

The implementation of HACCP provides confidence when being inspected by regulatory authorities that your system has the necessary controls. It also increases confidence in food safety from potential customers.

An organization that has successfully implemented a HACCP programme can proactively manage risk in relation to food safety and ensure a quality product for the end user.

Benefits of SQI HACCP include:

  • Increased compliance of food safety standards as required throughout Australia/New Zealand/Asia Pacific;
  • Application and implementation of safe processes
  • Sound staff training including food safety, hazard analysis, risk assessment, teamwork
  • Establish or further implement systems/procedures to remain or become compliant with current food safety laws/legislation
  • Reduction in overall costs by decreasing product loses, staff efficiency or similar
  • The possibility of gaining new or reaffirming consumer confidence in your products/services 

What are the key principles of HACCP and how does it help my business?

There are seven HACCP principles that you can apply to ensure your food safety risks are managed.

1.     Hazard Analysis (HA)

Conduct a Hazard Analysis Self-Assessment Check List

This is used to identify potential microbiological, physical, chemical and allergen hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur at each process step. Allergen cross-contamination risk is also included. Regulatory/legal and quality hazards and issues at each step must also be considered.

The hazard analysis includes:

  • The likely occurrence of hazards and severity/consequence of their adverse health effects or effect on product quality or regulatory compliance
  • Qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the presence of hazards
  • Survival or multiplication of micro-organisms
  • Production, persistence or cross-contamination of toxins, chemicals or physical agents

2.     Critical Control Points 

All hazards at each process step identified during the hazard analysis must be considered in sequence, categorised and given a Risk Rating.

If there are hazards at particular steps that are deemed as significant, then it needs to be determined if the step is a:

  • Critical Control Point (CCP),
  • Quality Control Point (QCP) or
  • Regulatory Control Point (RCP).

Steps that are not a CCP / QCP or RCP but still need to be controlled are control points (CP) and must be controlled through the established Food Safety & Quality Program.

3.     CCP Critical Limits

The Critical Control Points (CCP’s) must be established

Critical Limits separate what is acceptable from what is unacceptable. CCPs are based on:

  • Established food safety principles or published research
  • Legislative requirements

CCPs must be measurable/quantitative. Where possible, Action Limits shall be set that allow sufficient time for corrective actions to be taken before CCP critical limits are breached. The accuracy/precision/tolerance of monitoring equipment shall be taken into account when setting critical limits and action limits.

4.     CCP Monitoring

Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP.

Monitoring procedures are the planned sequence of observations or measurements of CCP control measures. Monitoring systems must be able to detect loss of control at the CCP, and must provide this information in time for corrective action to be taken to regain control of the process, and to identify, segregate and reject product before it is dispatched.

The documented monitoring system for each CCP must define:

  • Responsibility – who is responsible for carrying out the required monitoring
  • Frequency – if not continuous then at a frequency sufficient to ensure that the CCP is under control.
  • Method – detailed specification or procedure
  • Records to be kept – including action limits and critical limits, result of monitoring activity, signature of the responsible person and verification countersignature.

5.     Corrective Actions – HACCP Principle 5

You must establish the corrective action to be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control.

As with any control process, corrective actions need to be taken when monitoring indicates a trend towards loss of control (action limits breached) or a breach of CCP critical limits.

The corrective actions will differ slightly depending on which limit is breached:

Where Action limits are breached corrective actions should include:

  • Immediate action to re-establish control before the deviation leads to a CCP breach
  • Responsibility for the corrective action

Where Critical limits are breached corrective actions should include:

  • Immediate action to re-establish control
  • Identification of all product produced since critical limit was breached (since last in control monitoring result)
  • Disposition of affected product
  • Responsibility for the corrective action

6.     HACCP Plan Verification

You should establish procedures for verification to confirm that the HACCP system is working effectively

As corrective actions are implemented it is important that they are verified to ensure they are achieving the desired results.  Verification to confirm the HACCP system is working effectively must include:

  • Microbiological and chemical testing (where applicable) to confirm CCPs, QCPs and RCPs are in control. The schedule includes the type and frequency of testing which has been determined by the risk nature of the products and processes and covers all finished products.
  • Shelf-life validations covering both microbiological and sensory testing (where applicable). The schedule includes the type and frequency of testing.
  • Physical assessments of products against specifications. Methods for assessment, responsibilities and frequency of assessment are defined.
  • Reviewing internal incidents, non-conforming product records, customer complaints, withdrawals or recalls relating to food safety, quality or legality.
  • Internal audits of CCP monitoring and corrective action records

7.     Documentation & Record Keeping

Documentation must be established concerning all procedures and records appropriate to these principles and their application.

It is important to be able to demonstrate that the principles of HACCP have been correctly applied and this is done through documentation and record keeping.  These records should include:

  • The HACCP Plan, Objectives, Scope, Regulatory & Customer Requirements
  • HACCP Development Team Meeting Minutes
  • Finished Product Descriptions
  • Process Flow Diagrams
  • Hazard Analysis
  • CCP Determination and Validation
  • Critical Limit / Action Limit Determination
  • CCP Monitoring Procedures and Corrective Action Procedures
  • Documentation should also exist to demonstrate that the HACCP Plan has been effectively managed and implemented. This should include:

CCP Monitoring Records

  • Corrective Action Records
  • HACCP Training records and competency assessments for operators, supervisors and managers
  • Evidence of HACCP management including:
  • Verification Schedule and Records
  • Team Meeting Minutes
  • Modification records

How do I implement my HACCP Plan?

There are 12 basic steps for the Application of HACCP

  1. Assemble a HACCP team – made up of those people with the required knowledge and expertise for the development of an effective HACCP plan (which may include outside resources). It is important that this team has undergone the appropriate HACCP training.
  2. Describe the product – this should include the compositions, physical/chemical structure, treatments, and packaging, durability and storage conditions of the product.
  3. Identify intended use – the expected uses of the product by the end user or consumer.
  4. Construct flow diagrams – should cover or the specific steps in the operation for a specific product including the steps preceding and following the specified operation.
  5. On-site confirmation of flow diagrams – this is to be done by a person with sufficient knowledge of the processing operation.
  6. List all potential Hazards, Conduct a Hazard analysis and consider control measures (Principle 1)
  7. Determine CCPs (Principle 2)
  8. Establish critical limits for each CCP (Principle 3)
  9. Establish a Monitoring system for each CCP (Principle 4)
  10. Establish Corrective actions (Principle 5)
  11. Establish verification procedures (Principle 6)
  12. Establish documentation and record keeping (Principle 7) 

So now you have a better understanding of the benefits that HACCP Certification can provide your business.

Your customers have a right to expect that the food they eat will be safe and suitable for consumption.

The best way to do that is to ensure you have strong foundations around good hygiene practices and controlling risks associated with risk to human health.
The application of a HACCP system in managing the movement of products right through the supply chain is an effective way of enhancing food safety.

Next Steps

The other critical factor in getting a good outcome from your HACCP certification is the certification body you choose to conduct your audit.

Sci Qual International was the first certification body to be accredited by JAS-ANZ in 1993. Since that time we have certified thousands of organisations and many of those clients have been with us for 20 years or more.

So what is our value proposition versus other certification bodies?

"A simplified certification process......Guaranteed"

Having a simplified process doesn’t mean the audit won’t be robust - it will be. Our reputation and the integrity of the JAS-ANZ accreditation system depends on it.

However dealing with many certification bodies is more complex than it should be and we guarantee that you will find us easy to work with.

  • You will find us responsive from your first contact.
  • You will find us flexible in meeting your needs.
  • You will find our auditors are pragmatic and will add value to your business.
  • You will have one point of contact through a dedicated client manager who will work with you to achieve positive outcomes. Your client manager will handle quotes, audit scheduling, liaising with your auditor and will answer any questions you have. They will take full responsibility for getting you the answers you need.

We know from our own experience and from that of our auditors, (who in many cases are contracted to other certification bodies) that our single point of contact offers a significant benefit to clients and eases the stress of the certification process.

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