12 stages of the HACCP (7-9)

7. Determine Critical Control Points (PRINCIPLE 2)

There may be more than one CCP at which control is applied to address the same hazard.

The determination of a CCP in the HACCP system can be facilitated by the application of a decision tree (e.g., Diagram ), which indicates a logic reasoning approach. Application of a decision tree should be flexible, given whether the operation is for production, slaughter, processing, storage, distribution or other. It should be used for guidance when determining CCPs.

This example of a decision tree may not be applicable to all situations. Other approaches may be used. Training in the application of the decision tree is recommended.

If a hazard has been identified at a step where control is necessary for safety, and no control measure exists at that step, or any other, then the product or process should be modified at that step, or at any earlier or later stage, to include a control measure.

8. Establish critical limits for each CCP (PRINCIPLE 3)

Critical limits must be specified and validated for each Critical Control Point.

In some cases more than one critical limit will be elaborated at a particular step. Criteria often used include measurements of temperature, time, moisture level, pH, Aw, available chlorine, and sensory parameters such as visual appearance and texture.

Where HACCP guidance developed by experts has been used to establish the critical limits, care should be taken to ensure that these limits fully apply to the specific operation, product or groups of products under consideration. These critical limits should be measurable.

9. Establish a monitoring system for each CCP (PRINCIPLE 4)

Monitoring is the scheduled measurement or observation of a CCP relative to its critical limits. The monitoring procedures must be able to detect loss of control at the CCP. Further, monitoring should ideally provide this information in time to make adjustments to ensure control of the process to prevent violating the critical limits.

Where possible, process adjustments should be made when monitoring results indicate a trend towards loss of control at a CCP. The adjustments should be taken before a deviation occurs.

Data derived from monitoring must be evaluated by a designated person with knowledge and authority to carry out corrective actions when indicated.

If monitoring is not continuous, then the amount or frequency of monitoring must be sufficient to guarantee the CCP is in control. Most monitoring procedures for CCPs will need to be done rapidly because they relate to online processes and there will not be time for lengthy analytical testing. Physical and chemical measurements are often preferred to microbiological testing because they may be done rapidly and can often indicate the microbiological control of the product.

All records and documents associated with monitoring CCPs must be signed by the person(s) doing the monitoring and by a responsible reviewing official(s) of the company.