What is Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)?
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. HACCP is a food safety principle which served as the basic in every Food Safety Management System available in the market. It is widely used along the food supply chain, from primary to consumer products.

HACCP has been recognized internationally as the most effective and rational means of assuring food safety from harvest to consumption. Preventing problems from occurring is the paramount goal underlying any HACCP system. Seven basic principles are employed in the development of HACCP plans that meet the stated goal. These principles include hazard analysis, CCP identification, establishing critical limits, monitoring procedures, corrective actions, verification procedures, and record-keeping and documentation

The principles of HACCP are traceable to the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was created to develop food standards, guidelines and codes of practice by the Joint FAO/WHO (Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization) Food Standards Program for the United Nations. The Global Food Safety Initiative, made up of global food retailers, has recognized HACCP as a fundamental element of food safety system.

HACCP is a system for ensuring food safety in which adequate safety precautions are identified, put into place and regularly reviewed. It involves:
  • analysing the potential risks to food sold from your premises e.g. risk of contamination from infected food handlers or from using raw eggs. A hazard has the potential to cause harm to your customer and can be due to germs, chemicals or physical objects in the food.
  • identifying where along the food chain these hazards might happen e.g. cross contamination from  raw foods to cooked foods.
  • deciding which of these points are critical to the safety of the food. If a hazard makes food unsafe and if a subsequent step in handling the food will not eliminate the hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level, then this stage in handling the food is a critical control point e.g. cooking food thoroughly is critical to food safety.
  • identifying and implementing ways to effectively control and monitor these critical points e.g. re-heating food thoroughly.
  • reviewing the system on a regular basis to check that it is working well. It must also be reviewed if new products or equipment are introduced or if any food handling operation changes.
Benefit of Quality Management System
HACCP provides businesses with a cost effective system for control of food safety from ingredients through production, storage and distribution to sale and service of the final consumer. The preventive approach of HACCP not only improves food safety management but also complements other quality management systems. The main benefits of HACCP are:
  • Business will benefit from a clear definition of processes and procedures. Effective communication and continual process improvement are the cornerstones of a functioning management system.
  • A controlled food operating environment and effectively implemented and applied food safety system will improve customer and consumer confidence in the safety of food.
  • It uses a systematic approach covering all aspects of food production from raw materials, processing, distribution and point of sale to consumption and beyond. It moves a company from a solely retrospective end product testing and sampling approach towards a preventative approach that is designed to reduce product losses and liabilities.
  • It enables management throughout a business to demonstrate their commitment to the production and supply of safe products and within facility environments that are favorable for the production or supply of safe food.
  • Implementation of HACCP system can improve the relationship between food processors & food inspectors and food processors and consumers.
  • Record-keeping enables a more efficient and effective government and customer oversight and allows. The availability of documentation facilities and inspection activities of food inspectors.
  • It has been widely accepted that HACCP based system present the food industry with the most effective management tool to enable the production and supply of safe food. As such the adoption of this approach can offer a legal defense in the event of an outbreak of food borne diseases.
  • HACCP based approaches are a benefit to companies seeking to meet customer and legal requirements whether in the domestic or for the export market.