The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) model is a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation, and control of food safety hazards. Rather than wait for foodborne illness to occur, HACCP allows foodservice managers to target the greatest risks in a foodservice operation and proactively implement controls to prevent foodborne illness. It builds upon Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which are a prerequisite for building a HACCP plan.
HACCP and the flow of food
To apply HACCP, you must consider the flow of food in your operation—from purchasing through receiving, storage, pre-prep, preparation, cooking, holding, and serving. You can then target where the risks are greatest and decide how to control those risks. The flow of food is not identical everywhere or for every menu item. However, to make HACCP implementation practical in foodservice, the FDA defines some common processes. Learn more about HACCP processes in the Davidson's Safest Choice® blog post, Your Food Safety Plan.
HACCP principles & definitions
A HACCP system applies these principles:
- Conduct a hazard analysis. This is an evaluation of hazards associated with the food on your foodservice menu. Examples of hazards are Salmonella in eggs, Listeria in deli meats, or E. coli in ground beef.
- Determine the critical control points (CCPs). A CCP is a step at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level. You can think of this as your last chance to control a hazard within the flow of food. Achieving the proper endpoint temperature for a specified period of time in cooking is an example of a CCP for some menu items. To control the risk of Salmonella in eggs, you can address the CCP much earlier in the flow of food by purchasing pasteurized shell eggs.
- Establish critical limits. These are specified parameters that must be met to ensure that a CCP effectively controls a hazard. Examples are endpoint cooking temperatures and times.
- Establish monitoring procedures. This means observing and making measurements to determine if critical limits are being met.
- Establish corrective actions. These are the actions you take whenever a critical limit is not met.
- Establish verification procedures. These ensure that monitoring and other functions of a HACCP plan are being properly implemented.
- Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures. Your record-keeping provides documentation of monitoring observations and verification activities.
Learn more about HACCP
To learn more about implementing HACCP in your foodservice operation, try these HACCP resources:
- FDA. HACCP Principles & Application Guidelines
- FDA. Managing Food Safety: A Manual for the Voluntary Use of HACCP Principles for Operators of Food Service and Retail Establishments
- Iowa State University. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) website
- Davidson's Safest Choice Egg HACCP Plan