What is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)?
HACCP, or the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system, is a food safety management system that identifies points during food preparation and production that are critical to food safety (CCPs or Critical Control Points) and implements controls to ensure safe food.
What is the legal requirement?
EU food hygiene legislation was introduced in the UK in January 2006 (Regulation (EC) 852/2004) and requires that all food businesses (catering and retail) have a documented food safety management system based on HACCP principles.
Your food safety management system should conform to 7 principles:
- Conduct a hazard analysis - examine the flow of food in your business and identify all potential hazards (biological, chemical, or physical) and measures for their control.
- Determine Critical Control Points (CCPs) - a CCP is the last controllable point of food flow where a food safety hazard can be prevented or reduced to an acceptable level.
- Establish critical limits - critical limits are maximum and minimum values a CCP must meet to prevent or reduce the hazard to an acceptable level (e.g. time or temperature) - it separates acceptable (safe) product from unacceptable (unsafe) product.
- Establish a monitoring system - an effective monitoring system will alert you to a food safety problem or will confirm that all CCPs are operating within critical limits.
- Establish corrective actions - these are actions that are taken when monitoring results are outside critical limits - the action to be taken will ensure that the CCP is under control.
- Establish verification procedures - this confirms that the HACCP system is working effectively and will produce safe food.
- Establish documentation for procedures and records - efficient and accurate records are essential and demonstrate that all reasonable precautions for food safety have been taken.
What happens if I don't have a documented system in place?
As part of routine inspections, enforcement officers will check that the business has an appropriate HACCP-based food safety management system - if a system has not been implemented or is not appropriate then the business is not complying with the legal requirements of food law.
Non-compliance may result in formal action being taken and you may be issued with a Hygiene Improvement Notice from this Service depending on the circumstances of your business.
How do I start a HACCP system?
There are a number of resources that are available to help food businesses with food safety management and food hygiene regulation:
- CookSafe helps catering businesses understand and implement systems based on HACCP - using the CookSafe manual, you can develop HACCP-based procedures that fit your needs.
- RetailSafe has been designed for retailers handling unwrapped high risk foods.
- MyHACCP can guide you through the process of developing a food safety management system based on HACCP principles - the free web tool will help you develop a food safety management system that demonstrates how your business identifies and controls hazards that may occur.
Further advice on a food safety management system (and the application of CookSafe and RetailSafe) can be obtained by contacting Environmental Health
It is the responsibility of the proprietor of the food businesses to have a food safety management system in place and in some cases the proprietor may require to seek specialist advice from another external provider.
Some materials are also available in languages other than English.