Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a food safety management system the objective of which is to ensure that only safe food is placed on the market. It is based on preventing and controlling any biological, chemical, or physical hazards that may cause illness or harm to customers at as an early a stage in the production process as is possible.

Recommendations for employers

  • businesses placing food on the market should put in place and maintain a system based on HACCP principles
  • low risk or very small businesses may look at alternatives to HACCP
  • find out if a recognised guide to good practice is available for the sector in which the company operates and assess whether it might be suitable
  • adopt an holistic approach to implementing HACCP, involving everyone in the firm
  • identify and select an implementation team
  • appoint from within the team a leader and empower them with the authority and resources to see the project through
  • provide a demonstrable commitment to implementation by incorporating development activities into people’s everyday work rather than having it regarded as an add-on
  • maintain contact with the HACCP implementation team, seeking regular updates and feedback as the project progresses
  • with the HACCP plan completed, ownership of it needs to be conferred on a nominated individual reporting into a suitably senior person or else there is a risk the plan will drift or be neglected
  • ensure the HACCP plan is kept under constant review to maintain it as a practically useful document and is properly reflective of the business.

Control methods or risk reduction techniques

  • Before the team begins its work proper, implement a “Prerequisites” program (cleaning, maintenance etc) to provide a solid foundation upon which the HACCP system can be built
  • the implementation team should be suitably experienced and expert enough to develop and implement the system
  • arrange HACCP-specific training for the team, if necessary
  • retain a consultant to assist and advise, but ensure the project remains wholly owned by the company’s staff
  • producing a HACCP plan is a process that follows a logical series of steps which should not be by-passed or excluded for the sake of expediency
  • there are seven principles of HACCP outlined in the legislation (see below). Any plan should comply with these seven principles
  • the necessary preliminary tasks need to be fully completed to ensure the hazard analysis, the identified critical control points and associated procedures are relevant and appropriate
  • an appropriate number of “critical control points” need to be identified; any tendency towards excess in identifying these points should be avoided
  • ensure training is provided to all of the workforce once the HACCP plan has been completed.

Key risk factors

  • hazards brought into the business by incoming raw material, staff, visitors or services
  • hazards created in the business by poor work practices, absence of maintenance and poor management
  • hazards inherent in the business because of environmental conditions, layout and structure
  • hazards vectored inadvertently or unknowingly into the business, for example pests
  • production processes that fail to deal adequately with such hazards
  • staff with insufficient knowledge to deal with hazards
  • a management system incapable of either recognising or responding to such hazards.

Legal duties

European Union Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 contains the original requirements for food business operators to implement a food safety management system based on HACCP (the HACCP Requirement).

This legislation was transposed into UK legislation by:

  • the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/14)
  • the Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/3)
  • the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/31(W.5))
  • the Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 (SR 2006/3).

In the Republic of Ireland the Regulation was transposed into law most recently by the European Communities (Food and Feed Hygiene) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 432 of 2009).

Food business operators are required to put in place, implement, maintain and keep under review a permanent procedure or procedures based on the HACCP principles. The article in question (Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004) lists the seven accepted principles of HACCP with which any system must comply.

It is worth noting that businesses are not restricted to HACCP per se and may opt for a variation on it.

The legislation also allows for a degree of flexibility in the application of these principles, particularly for very small businesses or larger businesses engaged in low risk food preparation or production activities.

How we can help you with HACCP?

HS Direct have developed a set of HACCP charts and supporting documentation to assist catering organisations in complying with the new regulations. These charts are available as an instant download and contain the following.

What is in the pack?

  • A Policy Statement
  • Process Flow Chart
  • HACCP Check List
  • General Risk Assessments
  • A food safety Checklist
  • Full instructions for use
  • 11 HACCP Charts Including;
    • General Conditions
    • Purchase & Delivery
    • Storage
    • Defrosting
    • Preparation
    • Cooking
    • Cooling
    • Re-heating
    • Hot Holding
    • Cold Holding
    • Hot off site service
    • Cold off site service

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