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Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is the food safety system used for
managing risks in the food industry. When your food business undertakes a risk assessment to
identify the hazards and put controls in place, the risk assessment will be based on the principles

What does HACCP stand for and why is it used?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and is an internationally-
recognised food safety management system that helps businesses to identify, evaluate and control
the hazards that pose a significant risk to food safety. Having a HACCP plan in place is essential
to prevent foods from becoming unsafe for the consumer to eat. It applies equally to food retail,
catering and manufacturing establishments.

When was HACCP formed?

HACCP has been in use since the 1960s, although it was only officially defined by the World
Health Organisations Codex Alimentarius Commission in the 1990s. Food businesses were
advised to implement a HACCP plan after an E.coli breakout in Scotland in 1996 and it became
mandatory from 1stJanuary 2006 with the introduction of the Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on
the hygiene of foodstuffs.

Where did HACCP come from?

HACCP was originally intended to be used as a control system in the United States to ensure
food safety on the first manned NASA space missions. It originated in the 1960s and aimed to
ensure that food was safe for astronauts to consume before it was sent up into space. It was
established by NASA, the Pillsbury Company and the US Army Laboratories.

When did HACCP become law?

It was first recommended that all businesses implement a HACCP system in the 1990s. Today,
article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 states that Food business operators shall put in place,
implement and maintain a permanent procedure based on the Codex HACCP principles. This
became mandatory as of 1st January 2006.

When did HACCP start?

The HACCP food safety management system has been in use since the 1960s, although it was
only given an official definition in the early 1990s and was recommended for use by food
businesses after 1996.

What are the HACCP procedures?

A HACCP food safety management system is based on 7 key principles:

1. Conduct a hazard analysis

2. Determine the Critical Control Points (CCP)

3. Establish critical limits

4. Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP

5. Establish corrective action

6. Establish procedures for verification to confirm the system is working

7. Establish documentation.

To establish a HACCP system and ensure food safety, each of these principles must be followed,
monitored and reviewed regularly.

What are the HACCP prerequisites?

Prerequisite programmes are the range of fundamental control measures needed in order to
produce safe food. Prerequisites are the basics of food hygiene and must be in place before a full
HACCP system can be implemented. There is no set number of HACCP prerequisites the
amount will depend on your individual food business. Examples include measures to prevent
cross-contamination, hygiene procedures and pest control measures.

What are the advantages to HACCP?

Implementing a HACCP-based food safety management system ensures you are complying with
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004. A successful HACCP system will also prevent costly food safety

incidents, help you to avoid legal action and product recalls, prevent the need for destroying
stock, protect the reputation of the business and increase customer confidence.

Who uses HACCP?

HACCP food safety management systems are used in all types of food establishments, including
food catering, food retail and food manufacturing businesses. HACCP is an internationally-
recognised system and the principles are adopted in countries all over the world, including
Europe, the USA, Australasia and the Far East.

What is a HACCP plan?

Planning is essential to ensure that your HACCP system will work efficiently and effectively.
The HACCP plan can be linear (where each product in your food business has its own HACCP
plan, tracking the product from start to finish) or modular (where each stage of the food
production process has its own HACCP plan, e.g. delivery, storage and preparation).

When is a HACCP plan required?

If you own a food business (catering, retail or manufacturing) then the Regulation (EC) No
852/2004 requires you put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure based on the
Codex HACCP principles. A HACCP plan is required for food businesses of all sizes, although
less-complex versions are available for smaller establishments.

How can a HACCP plan best be implemented?

Implementing the HACCP plan means putting the safety controls into practice so that the
HACCP plan becomes a fully-working HACCP system. The HACCP plan can be implemented
using the blanket approach (where the plan is applied to the entire food system) or the staged
approach (where the plan is applied to each individual food process).

How often should HACCP be reviewed?

The HACCP system should be reviewed on a regular basis, such as annually, plus whenever
there has been a change to the process, equipment or ingredients used; if new hazards have been

identified; and if there has been an outbreak of food poisoning, a product recall or another food
safety complaint attributed to the company.

How long should HACCP records be kept?

Principle 7 of HACCP requires accurate records to be kept for each stage of the food safety
system. Some HACCP records needs to be kept longer than others, but it depends on what you
think is an appropriate time for your business. There is no set time or legal minimum for how
long HACCP records must be kept. For example, you may choose to keep records of cleaning
schedules for one year and supplier specifications for three years.

Who needs HACCP certification?

All food business operators, plus managers and supervisors in charge of planning and
implementing the HACCP system, should be appropriately trained so that they are competent
and knowledgeable. Training should also be provided to members of the HACCP team.
Obtaining a HACCP certificate shows that you have learnt how to successfully plan, implement
and maintain an effective HACCP system that complies with the law.

Do HACCP certificates expire?

There is no expiry date on HACCP training certificates although its recommended that you
refresh your training every 3 years to keep up-to-date with laws and procedures.

What is a HACCP hazard?

HACCP applies to all types of food safety hazards, including physical, chemical, microbial and
allergenic hazards. If any of these are not carefully controlled then food products may become
contaminated and unsafe for the consumer to eat.

What is a HACCP control point?

A HACCP critical control point is a stage in the HACCP process where it has been identified that
control measures are needed in order to eliminate or reduce a hazard. A critical limit is then
established and, if reached, preventative action is guaranteed to be implemented.

What is a critical limit in HACCP?

A critical limit is the maximum or minimum value needed for the control measure at a Critical
Control Point in order to prevent, eliminate or reduce a food safety hazard to an acceptable level.
Critical Limits separate safe production from unsafe production and establishing them is
principle 3 of HACCP.

What are examples of HACCP control measures?

A control measure is an action that helps to eliminate or prevent a food safety hazard, or reduce it
to an acceptable level. Examples include thorough cooking, metal detection, sieving and
filtration, use of approved supplied, planned equipment maintenance the segregation of raw,
ready-to-eat and allergenic foods.

What is a HACCP Decision Tree?

The purpose of a decision tree is to support the judgement of the team and help you to confirm
whether the hazard needs more food safety controls. You can find a full explanation and diagram
here: HACCP Decision Tree Advice.

When can HACCP be used in the food chain?

A food safety management system based on the principles of HACCP should be implemented in
all food manufacturing premises. The HACCP system looks at all aspects of food production,
from purchase of the initial ingredients to the distribution of the final product: from farm to
fork. Food manufacturers should take a training course in HACCP to learn more about how to
implement the procedures in their business.

How is HACCP used in the food industry?

HACCP is an internationally-recognised food safety management that all catering and food
production businesses must implement. It stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Points. HACCP means that businesses in the food industry need to analyse the potential hazards

to food safety in the workplace, put control measures in place, and then monitor the system to
ensure food continues to remain safe for the consumer to eat.

Why would the HACCP team check an oven?

The HACCP team may check ovens in the premises as part of their hazard analysis and to learn
where controls are needed to maintain food safety. Ovens must operate at the correct temperature
to ensure that foods are cooked thoroughly: temperature is a critical control point that must be

How can HACCP be used in the hospitality industry?

Any premises that handles, serves, makes or sells food must have a food safety management
system based on the principles of HACCP. This includes the hospitality industry where food is
likely to be prepared and served on-site. The HACCP system for hospitality premises is the same
as any other food establishment.