Introduction to HACCP

April 2019

What is HACCP?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. A food safety management system based on the principles of HACCP is a systematic approach to identifying and controlling hazards, whether microbiological, chemical or physical, that could pose a threat to the production of safe food – in simple terms, it involves identifying what could go wrong in a food system and planning how to prevent it.

There are 7 core HACCP principles. We will use an example of a chilled produce shipment to illustrate how these principles work.

1. Hazard Analysis

Hazard Analysis involves identifying any hazards that must be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels.

Transporting produce at the incorrect temperature is a potential hazard for a chilled produce shipment.

2. Critical Control Points

The second principle of HACCP includes identifying the critical control points where control is essential to prevent or eliminate a hazard or to reduce it to acceptable levels.

Cargo temperatures would be a critical control point for the high temperature hazard we have identified.

3. Critical Limits

Critical Limits means establishing critical limits for preventative measures associated with each Critical Control Point.

Upper and lower temperature limits would be defined for cargo temperature, say 2oC celsius to 8oC.

4. Critical Control Point Monitoring

Monitoring your Critical Control Points involves establishing and implementing effective monitoring procedures at critical control points.

We could monitor the cargo temperatures using a telematics system to give real-time visibility.

5. Corrective Actions

To adhere to the corrective actions principle you must establish corrective actions when monitoring indicates a deviation from a Critical Limit.

A corrective action would be altering the refrigeration unit setpoint if it had been set incorrectly.

6. Verification

Verification involves establishing procedures to ensure that the HACCP system is working correctly.

We could verify cargo temperatures automatically using temperature out-of-range alert features of our telematics system.

7. Record Keeping

Establishing effective record-keeping procedures that document the HACCP system is the 7th core principle.

We could store cargo temperatures to a database automatically using the telematics system.

HACCP can be applied throughout the food chain, including transportation. As well as reducing food safety risks during transport, HACCP can also be used to demonstrate compliance to regulatory authorities. Implementation of a HACCP food safety system for any company involved in transportation of food products is a recommended best practice.

Some more examples to consider.

Hazard Control/Critical Limits Monitoring/Verification Corrective Action
Food Contaminated by Salmonella or other food poisoning bacteria. Make sure delivery vehicle and handling equipment is clean. Check that delivery vehicle and handling equipment is clean. Review cleaning practices and schedules
Cross contamination from raw to cooked foods. Keep cooked and raw separate during transport and distribution. Check that cooked and raw separate foods are kept separate Discard any food that you suspect is unsafe

Provide training for staff.
Growth of food poising bacteria Make sure all food is transported at the correct temperature:
  • Chilled food: 0oC to 5oC
  • Frozen food: -18oC
  • Hot food: At or above 63oC
Following transport check temperature records for the journey.

Use the temperature out-of-range alert features of your telematics system
Discard food if you think it’s unsafe

Review temperature control methods during transport

Relevant Course

Food Safety for Drivers

This course will provide an essential introduction to food safety for companies engaged in transportation of human and animal foods. It is intended to comply with current EU food safety regulations including 178/2002 and 852/2004. The content is also suitable for compliance with the BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution.

Learn More