Introduction:

To run a food business, a plan is needed based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. A HACCP plan keeps your food safe from biological, chemical, and physical food safety hazards.

HACCP plan involves:

  • Looking closely at what you do in your business, what could go wrong, and what risks there are to food safety.
  • Identifying critical control points, that is, areas a business needs to focus on to ensure those risks are removed or reduced to safe levels.
  • Deciding what action you need to take if something goes wrong.
  • Making sure your procedures are being followed and are working.
  • Keeping records to show your procedures are working.

An internal audit needs to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that your organization remains fully compliant with HACCP requirements. 

This Process Street checklist will guide you through the process so you can accurately, and efficiently, evaluate compliance. 

The checklist will cover:

  • Hazard analysis
  • Critical control points
  • Monitoring procedures
  • Corrective action
  • Verification procedures
  • Cleaning procedures
  • Pest control
  • Training

Let's get started. 

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Enter basic details

To get things started, enter some basic details including your company name, address, and the individual leading your internal evaluation of HACCP compliance.

If there is a due date for the completion of this checklist, enter that below. 


HACCP team organization:

Enter team details

In the form fields below, enter the names of team members, along with a brief summary of their role in the HACCP compliance audit. 

Outline the team's skills and experience

Next, outline the skills and experience present on the team.

You can link each skill/experience to a particular individual or for the team as a whole. 

Describe use of any external resources

Describe what external resources you are using to assist your internal team for evaluating HACCP compliance.

Be sure to include:

  • 1
    Name of individual or organization
  • 2
    Scope of work
  • 3
    Length of agreement

Hazard analysis:

Confirm identification of food hazards

Refer back to your documented process, and identify the food hazards at each process step.

Hazards must include:

  • 1
    Biological
  • 2
    Chemical
  • 3
    Physical

Use the long-text form field below to detail these hazards.

Assess the significance of each hazard

From the list that you entered in the previous task (included below), assess and detail the significance of each hazard.

This is essential for you to effectively develop and implement control measures

List of hazards: {{form.List_of_food_hazards}}

Develop control measures

Using the information below regarding the hazards you have identified, along with any prior documentation you have for HACCP compliance, to clearly state which control measures are in place to manage the hazards.

List of hazards:

{{form.List_of_food_hazards}}

Significance of each hazard: 

{{form.Significance_of_each_hazard}}

Approval: Hazard analysis

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Confirm identification of food hazards
    Will be submitted
  • Assess the significance of each hazard
    Will be submitted
  • Develop control measures
    Will be submitted

Critical control points:

Establish critical limits for preventative measures

Critical limits are the values at critical control points (CCPs) that must be achieved to ensure the safety of food. These critical limits must be monitored at CCPs, as explained in Principle 4, and failure to consistently achieve these values must result in appropriate corrective action, as outlined in Principle 5

Examples of critical limits include:

Chemical critical limits:

  • Water activity
  • pH
  • Salt content
  • Mycotoxin levels 
  • Absence of allergens

Physical critical limits:

  • Temperature
  • Dried weight
  • Time
  • Absence of metal
  • Viscosity
  • Moisture content

The critical limits that you choose must be suitable to ensure that the control measures that you have selected at the CCPs are adequately controlled.

Whatever they are, ensure they are:

  • 1
    Observable
  • 2
    Measurable
  • 3
    Subject to real-time monitoring

Clarify how the limits were determined

Some critical limits are set out in legislation, for example for the pasteurization of milk (in Regulation 853/2004 Chapter II, Article 3, Annex III, Section IX, Chapter II, Paragraph II (1))

Others may be obtained from guidance issued by the Food Standards Agency, Industry Guides, trade associations, or published in peer-reviewed journals.

Care must be taken to ensure that critical limits are based on scientific evidence, as outlined in Principle 6.

Confirm correct relationship between the hazard and the critical limit

This step is to ensure that the critical limits selected are adequate to either prevent, eliminate or reduce the identified hazard to an acceptable level. 

Link to/attach relevant documentation that clearly demonstrates how the critical limit was established and how it adequately to either prevent, eliminate, or reduce the identified hazard to an acceptable level. This information needs to be recorded, whether or not you refer to it in this checklist. 

Approval: Critical control points

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Establish critical limits for preventative measures
    Will be submitted
  • Clarify how the limits were determined
    Will be submitted
  • Confirm correct relationship between the hazard and the critical limit
    Will be submitted

Monitoring procedures:

Verify frequency of monitoring is sufficient

According to the HACCP system, monitoring is defined as “The act of conducting a planned sequence of observations or measurements of control parameters to assess whether a CCP is under control.”

The frequency of monitoring must be sufficient to provide a high level of assurance that the process is under control at all times.

In a HACCP system, monitoring procedures must be designed to
accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Track the operation of the process and enable the
    identification of trends toward a loss of process control that
    would necessitate process adjustments
  2. Identify when there is a loss of process control and a
    the deviation occurs at a CCP
  3. Provide written documentation of the process control
    system

In the form field below, detail the frequency of monitoring and verify that it is sufficient for HACCP compliance. 

Attached  below is a useful resource if you would like to learn more about monitoring procedures for HACCP compliance

Ensure monitoring records are kept and reviewed

Monitoring procedures performed during the operation should result in written documentation which will serve as an accurate record of the operating conditions.

These records must include the:

  • 1
    Actual monitoring information
  • 2
    Date and time the activity took place
  • 3
    Signature of person conducting the monitoring procedure

Approval: Monitoring procedures

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Verify frequency of monitoring is sufficient
    Will be submitted
  • Ensure monitoring records are kept and reviewed
    Will be submitted

Corrective action:

Ensure corrective actions have been developed for each control point

Specific corrective actions must be developed for possible deviations at each CCP in the HACCP plan for a product.

To the extent possible, corrective actions should be pre-planned. However, it is not possible to pre-plan for all corrective actions.

As a minimum, the HACCP plan should specify:

  • 1
    What is done when a deviation occurs
  • 2
    Who is responsible for implementing the corrective actions
  • 3
    what records will be developed and maintained of the actions that are taken

Ensure records for corrective actions are maintained correctly

Records for corrective actions and nonconformities must include the following information:

  • 1
    Actual production records for the product
  • 2
    A standard form listing details (e.g. hold number, deviation, quantity of product held)
  • 3
    Results of product evaluation
  • 4
    Accurate accounting of all units in question
  • 5
    Statement of the procedure for handling the non-conformity
  • 6
    Cause of deviation identifed
  • 7
    Corrective action taken to prevent recurrence of deviation

Approval: Corrective action

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Ensure corrective actions have been developed for each control point
    Will be submitted
  • Ensure records for corrective actions are maintained correctly
    Will be submitted

Verification procedures:

Determine if procedures have been put in place

Validation is defined by the Codex guidelines as:

“Obtaining evidence that the elements of the HACCP plan are effective.”

Provide a summary of the verification procedures you have put in place in the form field below.

You can also link to/attach relevant documentation.

Verification activities can be carried out by individuals within the company, third party experts, and regulatory agencies. It is important that individuals conducting verification activities have the appropriate technical expertise to perform this function.

Attached  below is a useful resource if you would like to learn more about monitoring procedures for HACCP compliance

Evaluate if verification procedures demonstrate effectiveness of the HACCP program

Evaluate if the verification procedures you have in place demonstrate effectiveness of the HACCP program. 

HACCP program validation should include:

  • 1
    A review of the hazard analysis
  • 2
    CCP determination
  • 3
    Justification for critical limits, based for example on current good science and regulatory
  • 4
    Determination of whether monitoring activities, corrective actions, record-keeping procedures, and verification activities are appropriate and adequate

If deficiencies are noted in any of these areas, the HACCP team must revise the HACCP plan. These changes must be implemented as quickly as possible.

Approval: Verification procedures

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Determine if procedures have been put in place
    Will be submitted
  • Evaluate if verification procedures demonstrate effectiveness of the HACCP program
    Will be submitted

Cleaning procedures:

Confirm cleaning procedures have been developed

It goes without saying that an effective cleaning process is essential in every food business to help prevent food hazards. 

As a bare minimum, you should ensure the following to confirm your cleaning procedures are compliant with HACCP requirements:

  • 1
    Color coding equipment for sanitizing distinct areas
  • 2
    Visual inspections to check cleaning has been completed
  • 3
    Microbiological & allergen swabbing for hazard testing

Ensure verification procedures for cleaning have been implemented

With any type of cleaning there needs to be some type of verification process in place. What this means is you need to:

  • Check that the cleaning has been completed
  • Check that the cleaning has been effective

A visual inspection is a common method to check that the cleaning has been completed. You can also check that chemicals have been used at the required doses and contact time, hot water is at the correct temperature and food handlers have been adequately trained in cleaning procedures.

To verify that the cleaning has been effective involves a little more work and expense. The most common methods used are undertaking microbiological swabbing, allergen swabbing or finished product testing for key hazards.

Approval: Cleaning procedures

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Confirm cleaning procedures have been developed
    Will be submitted
  • Ensure verification procedures for cleaning have been implemented
    Will be submitted

Pest control:

Ensure pest control procedures have been implemented

Review your pest control procedure to ensure you are fully compliant with HACCP requirements. 

This must include:

  • 1
    Hazard Analysis
  • 2
    Monitoring
  • 3
    Validation
  • 4
    Verification

Most pest control programs focus on insects and rodents—i.e. cockroaches and mice—but your program should include a detailed analysis of storage requirements—and length of storage—for raw materials, work in process, and finished products.

Confirm verification procedure for effective pest control

Verification is a critical component of your HACCP plan, and in your pest control program that means ensuring your program is identifying potential infestations before they take root.

One suggestion is to place a small item in two or three random devices and asking the contractor to return the object.

Read the report and trend analysis thoroughly; too often the person responsible for pest control simply signs the report and goes on with their day. Finally, do any follow-up activities they suggest. 

Approval: Pest control

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Confirm verification procedure for effective pest control
    Will be submitted
  • Ensure pest control procedures have been implemented
    Will be submitted

Training:

Ensure there are records of training

It's incredibly important that records are maintained to demonstrate how and when you have trained your staff to comply with HACCP requirements. 

Link to and/or attach documentation that shows a clear history of training, as well as a training plan for the future. 

Ensure training needs are reviewed on a regular basis

As a final step, make sure that you have training need review sessions planned for at least the next few months. 

Record the date of the next review session below. 

Approval: Training records & schedule

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Ensure there are records of training
    Will be submitted
  • Ensure training needs are reviewed on a regular basis
    Will be submitted

Final steps:

Make overall comment on internal audit

Now is the time to review the audit, verify the information, and make an overall comment on how it went and where the organization stands in terms of HACCP compliance.

Also, take the time to identify and document action items moving forward. 

Approval: Internal audit successfully completed

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Make overall comment on internal audit
    Will be submitted

Sources:

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