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The HACCP System: Simplified

The 12 stages of HACCP

There are three stages to implementing a HACCP based system of food safety management. First, there’s the Preparatory Stage where you lay the foundations needed to begin the two main stages of HACCP itself, the Hazard Analysis stage and the Monitoring and Verification stage.

Each stage of HACCP is made up of a series of steps – 12 in all - which need to be completed, in order, before moving on to the next. Below we have given an overview of the 12 steps in the HACCP process. For a more detailed look at the 12 HACCP Steps, download our PDF using the button below!

*Please note: HACCP is a hugely effective system for controlling certain significant hazards but it isn’t designed to deal with the more general, day-to-day matters of food safety and basic hygiene. It can only ever be effective if there are already certain essential food safety procedures – called prerequisites – in place to build upon.

Step 1: Create a HACCP Team

The HACCP team is responsible for carrying out the 12 steps and should include people from all levels and areas of your organisation. They should have complete at least HACCP Level 2 training. 

Step 2: Describe your products and ingredients (make a list)

This list should include: product name, all ingredients, processing methods, preservation methods, packaging and storage requirements, shelf-life, allergen information, any legal requirements it complies with and the target consumer. 

Step 3: Identify and record who might be at risk (make a list)

Identify how a product might be used and who they might be consumed by, then consider if it will be unsafe to the consumer at any point and any safeguarding measures for those people considered ‘at risk’. 

Step 4: Create a flowchart for the life-cycle of food products

Your HACCP team should decide the level of detail needed in the flowchart, but it should include at least how raw ingredients are brought in, where and how they are stored, any temperature controls used, how the food is handled and if any temperature critical food has ever been left at the wrong temperature. 

Step 5: Confirm your flowchart is correct

To test the flowchart is correct, you should physically follow the steps through the building and ensure everything happens as it should. Talk to people on various shifts and ensure that everything is up-to-date and correct.

Step 6: Analyse potential hazards (make a list)

Make a list of every reasonably predictable hazard at each stage. Then group them together and decide which pose the most risk and what safety controls might be necessary. 

Step 7: Determine where Critical Control Points (CCPs) are needed

Use a decision tree to decide if a hazard is a CCP or not.

Step 8: Set Critical Limits

You need to set a firm maximum or minimum limit that relates to a specific control measure, if the limit is reached, the control measure must be actioned. Test methods for Critical Limits must provide real-time results so that corrective actions can be taken immediately.

Step 9: Monitor CCPs and Critical Limits

An effective monitoring system will help to avoid losing control of food safety. You should record the results and be able to detect when target levels are missed. 

Step 10: Establish corrective actions (write them down)

Everyone should know what to do when a critical limit has been reached. Any action taken to correct the procedures should be documented and clearly communicated. 

Step 11: Do an audit of the HACCP system

The HACCP system should be regularly (at least annually) audited to ensure that it is effective. The person who conducts the audit should be different to the person who is responsible for implementing control measures.

Step 12: Keep records

Make sure there is a record for each part of the HACCP plan. Including, pest control reports, supplier lists, all prerequisite procedures, hazard analyses, CCPs, any training undertaken by staff, corrective actions taken, details of critical limits and cleaning schedules. 

For a more in-depth understanding of this 12 step system, please take a look at our ‘HACCP System: Simplified’ PDF below...

Download 'The HACCP System: Simplified' PDF

HACCP Training

Our CPD Accredited Level 2 HACCP Training is essential for all employees in the food industry. This course will cover an introduction to HACCP, the law and contamination as well as the 12 steps of HACCP and what is involved in implementing them at your workplace. Why not get started with a free trial today?

HACCP Level 2 Training