HACCP plan

HACCP in a nutshell

HACCP, or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, is a systematic approach to establishing controls for managing food ...

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  • HACCP, or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, is a systematic approach to establishing controls for managing food safety hazards and risks.
  • Three of the most critical phases of HACCP are
    1) creating prerequisite programs,
    2) going through 5 preliminary steps,
    3) establishing the 7 HACCP principles

  • All your HACCP plan documents can be done within 1 hour using the FoodDocs HACCP builder

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a systematic food safety management system and is perhaps the most recognized system for controlling food safety risks and hazards in the food industry.

The HACCP system is a food industry regulatory standard adopted by most developed countries. The program lays out the necessary risk assessment and appropriate controls to ensure that food business operations are safe and protect public safety. It serves as a basis for other higher-ranking food safety and food quality systems developed after its establishment. 



Building a HACCP plan to produce wholesome food requires the efforts of the entire team of a food business. A comprehensive HACCP plan covers all areas of the food chain to ensure that food safety hazards are well-addressed and controlled for public safety. While food safety is the primary concern of a HACCP plan, it also helps a food business establish its brand regarding service and quality of approach to protecting customers from hazardous risks.

This article was made to give you a quick yet essential overview of the important points in building a HACCP plan and for its successful implementation in your food business.

In this article, also learn about our digital solution at FoodDocs for building a HACCP plan in just 1 hour.


HACCP definition 

HACCP, or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, is a systematic approach to food safety management system that aims to establish controls for managing food safety hazards and risks.

This food safety system covers all areas of food production, starting from raw material production and procurement up to product packaging, distribution of finished products, and consumption by consumers. It involves food safety management procedures that will help prevent your business from causing harm to public health.


HACCP terminologies

Here are a few short definitions of the terminologies used in this article:

  • Corrective action plan. A detailed plan that contains contingency procedures in case critical limit deviation occurs.

  • Control measure. Any operation done to prevent food safety hazards from breaching acceptable levels.

  • Critical Control Point. A controllable processing step that is designated as the last step to prevent or control a hazard to a safe level before it reaches a consumer.

  • Critical limits. Set of minimum and maximum acceptable values of a particular parameter indicating the tolerable levels of a hazard and is used as a reference to determine the effectiveness of a CCP.
  • Decision tree. A dichotomous tool that features questions evaluating whether a control measure can be considered a critical control point or not.

  • Flow chart. Is a basic visual representation of your entire processing flow represented by a diagram with shapes and lines.

  • HACCP certification. An evaluation process that is conducted by a qualified auditor to verify if an established HACCP system is effectively working.

  • HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points Plan). A written document containing the comprehensive hazard analysis, control measures, monitoring records, corrective action plans, activity of verification, and record-keeping tasks of a particular food business.

  • HACCP program/ HACCP system (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points system). The implemented systematic system that addresses the potential food safety hazards in a food business.

  • HACCP audit. A comprehensive evaluation of your HACCP plan conducted by a third-party inspector. 

  • Hazard analysis. The first process step in establishing a HACCP program and involves describing the hazard and identifying its potential frequency of occurrence and damage caused.

  • Hazard. Substances or materials that may potentially contaminate any wholesome food product and cause foodborne illness in customers.

  • Monitoring procedures. A set of systematic procedures aimed to ensure that control measures are working and record the results as proof.

  • Prerequisite programs. Are basic food safety operations and employee practices that aim to create the basic environmental conditions for working in a food business.

  • Verification. Aspects of verification evaluate all recorded documents regarding the performance of the HACCP system and helps in deciding whether the system needs to be revised.

food safety plan builder


What does HACCP stand for?

HACCP is an acronym for three of the plan's essential components. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.

Below, we go through the meaning of the five-letter acronym in detail:

1. Hazard - Hazard identification is the first and main target of this food safety management system. Foodborne hazards are any contaminations that could be the result of inadequate processing, dirty raw materials or cooking utensil, or even cross-contamination in cooked materials. Potential hazards can be physical, biological, chemical, or allergenic and can cause severe health effects.

They are called food safety hazards because of the potentially unacceptable health risk they carry that could harm public health through unsafe food for consumption once they exceed an acceptable level.

The detection of contaminants at an early stage is key for safer food production in any manufacturing plant or food service in the food industry. Also, it's important to evaluate the degree of risk of each hazard and source of contamination to come up with appropriate direct control factors.

    • Physical hazards are objects that can cause severe health effects upon contact, such as ingestion, choking, cuts, or injury. These physical hazards can be in the form of filth, leaves, hair, glass shards, or pieces of metals.

Physical hazards may enter at any point of the food production system, especially with improper storage. Even packaging materials may be considered physical hazards when fragments fall into the food product. Food businesses must have standard plans for physical contaminants, such as glass control.

    • Chemical hazard. In addition to food safety risks, contaminations include unnecessary chemical methods and the presence of unintentional adulteration. An example would be the detection of acrylamide in the product. This chemical by-product indicates exceeding the advised cooking temperature of products rich in sugars and amino acids, such as in cooking raw meat.

Acrylamide is a known carcinogenic compound that forms when cooked materials are heated excessively for a long time, such as in cooked meat patties or fries. These hazards include toxic contaminants from chemical control items such as pesticides, biocides, and cleaning agents, which can cause severe illness when ingested. Normally, this type of hazard is detected by testing ingredients for chemical residues. Chemical methods are essential for fast results.

    • Biological hazards result from pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses, and parasites. The elimination of pathogens is a critical control point with corresponding critical limits and requires extensive biological risk assessments and effects analysis.

Pathogens and the toxins they produce are the leading cause of foodborne illness in the food industry. Perhaps a well-known biological hazard or microbial pathogen is Salmonella in raw meat. Cells of Salmonella are addressed by the cooking process or thermal processing of raw meat of poultry to the right internal temperature with adequate time.

Other prominent pathogens include Staphylococcus aureus and its toxins, Clostridium botulinum, Campylobacter, E.coli, and Listeria.

    • Allergenic hazards - allergens are substances in food that can cause hypersensitivity in certain persons. Their presence can sometimes be unavoidable; therefore, they must be declared on product labels. Common allergens include gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, and soy.

2. Analysis - this aspect comes after hazard identification and pertains to the implementation of the evaluation part of a HACCP plan. The HACCP is a food management system that deals with all stages of hazard analysis and accurate identification of hazards that could arise from the previously mentioned list of hazards.

The analysis includes the assessment of the whole food operation from raw material production, food composition analysis, procurement up to processing, conditions of storage, shelf life, and consumption.

HACCP determines at which point could hazard contaminate the process and the product and whether they can be considered critical control points using science-based methods of analysis or not. The proper and comprehensive analysis builds a solid foundation for your entire food safety plan and will significantly affect its successful implementation.

3. CCP - the last component of the acronym HACCP is the Critical Control Points. These points are the controllable processing steps within the whole food chain that need accurate evaluation and require controls to remove potentially or inherently present food safety hazards or reduce them to an acceptable level. Critical control points require corrective action procedures and aspects of verification to support control measures.

HACCP plan is commonly mistaken to be synonymous with a food safety plan and termed singularly as the HACCP system. Both plans are considered food safety management systems but have a few differences. Where a food safety plan is only concerned with establishing preventive measures, a HACCP plan also requires monitoring and verification reports. In addition, a HACCP plan is focused on monitoring critical control points, whereas a food safety plan is concerned with all other food service operations.


HACCP documentation

Building a HACCP plan entails several documentation processes. The conceptualization and successful implementation of your HACCP program can span from 1 to 12 months, depending on the skill of your HACCP team.


Three of the most critical phases of HACCP documentation are the following:

1. Creating prerequisite programs. This involves creating the most basic sanitary conditions and working environment fit for a food business through a series of management programs.

2. Going through 5 preliminary steps. A series of steps that aims to prepare your team for making a HACCP plan

3. Establishing the 7 HACCP principles. Involves a complete summary table from hazard identification and analysis up to the recordkeeping and documentation procedures.




All operations, control measures, monitoring procedures, critical limits, corrective action plans, and other essential tasks must be comprehensively documented and stored in a HACCP plan for a successful implementation. 

The development of process for a HACCP plan will start with prerequisite programs, continue with five preliminary steps and finally end with 7 principles of HACCP. Now, let's discuss all three HACCP documentation processes step-by-step:


What are HACCP prerequisite programs?

Prerequisite programs (PRP) in food safety are strategic systems composed of different operations that provide the basic sanitary conditions to operate in a safe environment for the production of wholesome food.

Before creating an efficient HACCP food safety system and implementing it, prerequisite programs must be implemented to prevent loss of control. Prerequisite programs are the essential foundation of food safety and the HACCP system and are composed of basic food safety principles.

The process of conceptualizing a HACCP program starts by ensuring that all prerequisite programs and standard operating procedures are fulfilled and that all key food handlers have effective training on food safety and ingredient handling practices.

They are concerned with the hygiene, environmental conditions, and sanitary condition of a business aimed at reducing the unacceptable health risk of potential hazards. Put simply, your company needs to implement prerequisite programs before making a HACCP plan. Some of the most common prerequisite programs include Good Manufacturing Practices and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures.

These prerequisites apply to any nature of the food business and are general requirements for employee food handling practices, equipment design, and sanitary conditions for working. They also ensure minimum environmental conditions for food safety.

Some prerequisite programs are used as guidelines in building suitable criteria for food safety. These criteria include processing facility design with basic conditions and proper verification reports if they comply with minimum criteria for producing wholesome food for consumption.


Some of the most common prerequisite programs include:

  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Effective Pest Control Programs
  • Water system management plan
  • Waste management plan
  • Employees' training
  • Allergen management



5 preliminary steps of HACCP

Before the conceptualization of a HACCP plan commences, your food safety management team must also satisfy five preliminary tasks to build a solid foundation. These steps aim to establish a team that will be responsible for building the plan and visualizing the entire process as the basis for the HACCP plan.

5 preliminary HACCP steps include-1


Step 1. Build a HACCP team. The first preliminary task is to choose key personnel from each department in your food business organization who have in-depth knowledge and direct control of their respective designations.

Each chosen member will be responsible for sharing their input on the potential foodborne hazards from their area and aid the entire team in establishing the identified controls. It is important to have representatives with knowledge of production, quality assurance, food safety, and food microbiology to avoid loss of control in any aspect of the process. 

Select members who also have experience in your everyday operations. In addition, your team may also include a third-party food safety expert who will guide your team in identifying potential hazardous areas through their expert advice.


build a haccp team

Tasks divided by HACCP team members


Step 2. Describe raw materials, the food, and its distribution. List down all of the necessary food composition or raw materials, finished product groups, required conditions of storage, and the appropriate conditions of distribution.

Your HACCP team must describe the general food group of your safe food product to identify any related food safety hazards.

Food groups can tell your team a lot about the product, such as when categorizing the food as a Bakery product. This tells you that the food item is made with wheat and can potentially be allergenic to some customers.

Another example is when you categorize your food as salad, it means that raw materials in this product group will require stringent monitoring of storage temperatures and quality control. Storing this product at ambient temperature will spoil it faster than in cool storage conditions. 



Describing ingredients, food groups and food temperatures


Product description


The description of general food groups


Step 3. Identify the intended use of the product.

Clearly describe the market segment to whom the product is intended to be sold. Segments include regular customers, children, the elderly, middle-aged individuals, and others. This step is important for protecting the potentially sensitive customers of the product.

Target consumer


Step 4. Develop a flow chart design describing the process. Clearly outline the steps, manufacturing, and employee practices used to make your safe product by creating a block-type flow diagram. Here is an easy tool to build your flow chart diagram.

The more detailed the flow chart diagram is, the clearer it may become for your team, where food hazards can occur.

The flow diagram can be a simple map as long as it clearly describes the logic sequence of your process.




This is how the flow chart looks like in the FoodDocs program


Step 5. Verify the flow chart diagram. After building the HACCP flow chart diagram, the last preliminary task is to verify whether all areas are covered through an on-site observation. Observations such as differences in equipment or process flow presented in the flow chart diagram must be duly considered as these may greatly affect decision-making in the HACCP plan-making process.

Aspects of verification and initial validation activities do not entail additional documentation; rather, revisions of the existing flow chart diagram will only be done when inaccuracies are observed. 

Once inaccuracies are observed from the verification report, your team must revise the flow chart diagram, so choose a flow chart template that is easily and fully customizable from the start to save you time in the future.

An accurate block-type flow diagram is key in introducing the whole process to the team and identifying all potential food safety hazards. Inaccuracies in the diagram can cause unidentified hazards and potential loss of control over food safety.

Upon finishing all preliminary tasks and verification reports, your team is not set to create your HACCP plan. Expertise from each area of your food business will contribute to identifying and analyzing all potential hazards. 


7 HACCP principles

Once all prerequisite programs and preliminary tasks are done, your team now has to move on to the establishment of the HACCP 7 principles. The 7 HACCP principles were established to allow your HACCP team to systematically identify all hazards, analyze them, establish control measures, continuous monitoring procedures, and corrective actions in case of deviations. All following documents need to be documented and stored properly in case of a HACCP audit and to prevent loss of control over an effective implementation.

Each principle must be done to properly and continuously address food safety hazards throughout your food service operations and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements to produce safe food products. 


7 HACCP principles include


Principle #1  Accurately identify hazards and conduct a hazard analysis.

Accurate identification of hazards and their analysis are the most important steps in a HACCP plan. Inadequate identification and improper analysis of hazards can increase the risk of causing unacceptable health risks.

Hazard analysis is done for all steps of the production line to identify any potential hazards that may cause food safety issues. Here is a step-by-step guide with an example below on how to compose your hazard analysis:

  1. List down all potentially hazardous points from your food processing under Process Steps. As there can be several potential hazards in a food system, your team must evaluate each hazard to determine their required level of attention. Identification of hazards must be guided by the process flow chart diagram.
  2. Include the accurate identification of whether the potential hazards are physical hazards (P), chemical hazards (C), or biological or microbiological hazards (M).
  3. Analyze the hazard's potential severity and the likelihood of occurrence through an effects analysis.
  4. Provide a brief description of why and how this potential hazard can occur and cause food safety problems, leading to your decided levels of severity and likelihood of occurrence.
  5. After analyzing every hazard, your team must provide preventive measures for each hazard, such as having a comprehensively documented standard operating procedure and proper ingredient handling practices. Loss of control over these hazards can cause significant problems.


Below is an example of some common food safety hazards and how they are analyzed in the process.

  • An example of a hazard in cooking as a process step is when your team identifies that there is a risk of survival of any toxin-forming enteric pathogen from cooking, such as Staphylococcus aureus or cells of Salmonella. These pathogens are known to cause significant health issues but are very susceptible to any heat process.

When left uncontrolled with proper employee practices such as a cooking process, this pathogen and health hazard can potentially cause catastrophic food safety issues, such as severe health effects, and has a moderate likelihood of occurring as well.

After identifying these parameters, the hazard must be assigned with appropriate preventive control measures such as proper handwashing, a thorough cooking process, cooling at ambient temperature, and proper refrigeration.

  • Another example would be the detection of physical hazards such as glass or torn packaging material debris. When undetected and uncontrolled, this physical hazard can cause minor problems. This type of food safety hazard can be prevented by applicable standard operating procedures, including reviewing equipment design and glass control.

The successful implementation of the succeeding HACCP principles rely on the accuracy of the hazard analysis stage.


Hazard analysis

Hazard analysis free template on FoodDocs


Use FoodDocs free hazard analysis template that you can use for your HACCP plan-making process.


Principle #2 Determine Critical Control Point (CCP)

Next, every processing step must be clearly identified in your HACCP table, whether it is a CCP (YES) or not (NO). Identification of CCPs is a task that will help ensure the safety of your operations from hazards.

The most common CCPs are the cooling of potentially hazardous foods, thermal processing, and consistent maintenance of temperature for cooked food and ingredient storage, such as in hot holding foods.

Cooked materials and ingredient storage are considered as CCPs because improper storage of the two categories of food can contaminate ready-to-eat foods, which will only pass by the minimal thermal process before they are served. In this situation, conditions of storage between packaging must be considered a CCP.

For every analyzed hazard that has been identified to cause significant negative effects on public health, your team must proceed to the development of process that will determine which operations can be considered as critical control points that will control hazards to an acceptable level.

A food processing operation must satisfy a few requirements for it to be considered a critical control point that will ensure the production of safe food products. To help your team in the identification of CCP from other food operations, the traditional procedure is to use a HACCP decision tree. Using a tool such as a decision tree, your team will be able to classify if an operation is a CCP or not clearly. This tool consists of questions with a Yes or No answer that will arrive at a definite decision. 

If you are not familiar with examples of decision trees, then our free tool is the perfect solution for you.

A CCP is generally known as the last controllable processing method to manage food safety and health hazards, such as hindering the multiplication of pathogens to unsafe levels through the cooking process before the food item reaches the consumer.



Determining Critical Control Points (CCPs)


Principle #3 Establish critical limits

All succeeding principles will only be applied to operations identified as CCPs.


After establishing which process steps are CCPs, all classified steps must be carefully analyzed and assigned with appropriate control measures. The succeeding principles will be used to ensure that CCPs are always in check. 

The next task is to add a Potential Hazards section with a proper description. It means that each CCP must be assigned a minimum and maximum allowable limit, which will signal food handlers if the process is still safe or otherwise.

A good example of critical limits would be the minimum internal temperature for cooking foods. For cooking poultry raw meat, the food must be cooked to at least 165°F (74°C) with specified heating times to ensure that cells of Salmonella and other pathogens are removed. Below this limit, the dish may be considered unsafe food. Some more specific critical limits may include information such as minimum oven temperature and adequate time to hit the target internal temperature.

Critical limits and criteria for food safety are established through the information available in related literature and food safety standards released by regulatory agencies. These limits are significantly studied to ensure the production of safe food products.

Critical limits may be values based on the physical and chemical measurements monitored in your food operations, such as the pH, temperature, internal temperature, humidity, water activity, moisture level, and other detectable control factors involved.



Establishing critical limits


Principle #4 Establish monitoring procedures

As the next step, clearly identify parameters that need to be monitored to ensure that food safety compliance is consistently maintained. 

Assigned personnel, particular parameters to be monitored, and the frequency of procedures for monitoring must be specified in this step. These monitoring components are usually presented as the following:

  • What - the parameter that needs to be monitored (e.g., internal temperature for cooking)
  • How - the monitoring procedure involved in detecting the chemical or physical parameter. Examples of monitoring activities may include using a calibrated thermometer to check the temperature of a heat process or other physical and chemical measurements.
  • Frequency - the required instances when monitoring is a must (e.g., for every new cooking load)
  • Who - the assigned personnel for performing the CCP and monitoring task (e.g., staff/ cook)


Continuous monitoring procedures are essential operations in maintaining compliance with food safety. Consistent monitoring can help immediately detect critical limit deviations and allow food handlers to apply corrective actions. 

In case monitoring procedures on a continuous basis are not applicable, a batch basis must be applied. Batch basis monitoring means applying examples of monitoring activities to a representative sample. The complexity of monitoring may depend on the number of identified CCPs and critical limits that need to be monitored.

Monitoring records must be neatly collected as they will serve as a reference in case any disputes arise. 


monitoring procedures

Establishing monitoring procedures


Principle #5 Establish corrective action procedures

To address deviations from the set critical limits, your team must establish a set of definite corrective actions that will bring the concerned parameter to safe levels.

A HACCP plan is not a zero-risk program. Food safety hazards will eventually breach the established critical limits, and loss of control situations may occur. What you need to do is stop any potentially hazardous food from reaching the customer and prevent any potential severe health effects.

To prevent these deviations from causing harm and productivity loss, your team must be equipped with the appropriate instructions for correction methods.

A good example of corrective action is when the monitored internal temperature during heating times is still inadequate. In this situation, the cooking staff must decide on the appropriate action, which is to continue cooking until the target temperature is reached.


Corrective action procedures

Establishing corrective action procedures


Principle #6 Establish verification procedures

The HACCP team must also create plans for regular aspects of verification that will help ensure that the food safety plan is functioning as expected.

Comprehensive verification activities entail inspections and future reviews of CCP monitoring and other food safety documents.

The activity of verification process step must also include procedures to help reevaluate the HACCP plan and update it according to new legal requirements for the continual improvement of a safe food production process.

Initial validation and verification procedures are performed by supervisors through reviewing previous records and performing on-site inspections. Frequent reviews of your operations will allow your team to assess whether the HACCP system is working or not.


Verification procedures

Establishing verification procedures


Principle #7 Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures.

All food safety documents related to the HACCP system must be properly documented and filed.

Documentation of accurate records will serve as proof of whether the HACCP plan is effective or not. Include an executive plan summary table of your entire HACCP plan. Accurate record-keeping will also entail compiling other documents such as CCP monitoring records, employee training records, verification reports, and biological risk assessments involved with your HACCP plan.

Some of the most important records are monitoring forms such as a cooking temperature log, fridge temperature log, and thermometer calibration log. Complete documentation can help you secure a good rating for future reviews or certifications.


Record-keeping procedures

Establishing record-keeping and documentation procedures


The key to the effective initial implementation of the HACCP system lies in complete hazard analysis and comprehensive documentation. These first and last principles ensure that all areas of your food processing system have control factors and that compliance is consistently maintained.


Where to get the HACCP plan template?

The best way to present your HACCP plan is through a summary table where only the most important information is added for accessibility and ease of understanding. Not familiar with this table? We've got you covered at FoodDocs. Use our free HACCP plan template as a reference and guide for building your own summary table.




HACCP plan template on FoodDocs free tools page


Need a faster and smarter solution than a free template? Use our built-in customizable HACCP plan to get all sections done in just 1 hour. Sign up with us and answer a few basic questions about your food operations to get your digital HACCP plan now. 


Why is HACCP food safety program important?

Establishing a HACCP plan reduces the chance of product contamination and unnecessary risks to a company's profits and reputation. It also reduces the need for end-product testing in the production of wholesome food. Your approach to food safety is crucial for running a food business.

HACCP was developed to address food safety risks and the sources of contamination before they even cause bigger problems, such as starting a foodborne illness outbreak from a processing facility. The principles linked to a HACCP food safety program lay out a solid foundation for controlling potentially unsafe foods from reaching consumers in the food industry and even improving food quality to a point.

Food safety risks and hazards will always be present in the food business. As such, food companies such as food processing plants and food service businesses must use such a plan, or at least a related plan, to protect their customers from the severe health effects of hazards.

A previous report mentioned that food recalls could amount to at least $10M in expenses, excluding the damage caused to the brand's reputation. This cost may even be higher for larger food businesses and food processing plants. This is something that you do not want to happen to your food business.


Who needs HACCP food safety system?

The requirement of implementing a HACCP plan is dependent on a country's food safety regulations. In the UK, all food businesses are required to implement a HACCP plan.

On the other hand, the requirement for a HACCP plan in the US is a bit more complicated. Generally, businesses under the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) must have a HACCP plan. This includes businesses that handle processed and raw meat and poultry. 

Businesses handled by the Food and Drug Administration concerned with beverage and seafood products are required to have a seafood and juice HACCP plan, respectively, as well. All other food businesses must undergo an evaluation to understand if they need a HACCP plan or not. 

In line with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, food businesses that are not required to have a HACCP plan must at least have a Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) system. This food safety system was established under the FSMA law, which covers a wider set of regulations on types of hazards and the nature of required preventive controls.

Below is a table that clearly shows which food businesses require a HACCP plan in the US:



Who is responsible for creating and implementing a HACCP plan?

A HACCP food safety team is set up before establishing the food safety plan. This team is responsible for conceptualizing and implementing the HACCP plan, as well as maintaining compliance with food safety regulations.

A HACCP team is composed of representatives from the different areas of the food business, including maintenance, quality control, management, food microbiology, and others. Every member must have effective training in their expertise.

In some cases, an independent expert in food safety is invited to join the team to act as a consultant and help in applying preliminary tasks and requirements for HACCP and its initial implementation.

Similarly, the established HACCP team is also responsible for reviewing the monitoring records of your HACCP plan and ensuring that it is up-to-date.


What is HACCP certification?

A HACCP certification is the process of evaluating a food business based on the robustness of its HACCP food safety management system and awarding them a certificate of recognition as proof.

A qualified third-party food safety auditor performs the certification process. The HACCP audit consists of an on-site inspection and a thorough official review of documents to detect any cases of loss of control. All documents ranging from prerequisite programs such as employee training records to the last process for building a HACCP plan will be reviewed.

A HACCP certification process involves a series of inspections and frequent reviews, both on-site and documentation aspects, of your food safety management procedures. Certifications cost quite a lot and require an ample amount of your team's time, so you must ensure that you are always prepared for it.

As you see, a lot of paperwork must be stored and found on time. The easiest way to store all this documentation is to have a digital HACCP program where everything is stored automatically on a continuous basis and easily found. Yes, exactly like it is in FoodDocs.

Learn the basic conditions and in-depth processes involved in acing a HACCP audit and certification here.


The process of HACCP certification includes the following steps:

  1. Get your HACCP plan done

  2. Establish your HACCP system

  3. Invite a third-party food safety auditor to review your HACCP plan

  4. If the auditor finds everything satisfactory, your business will receive the certification.


In case your business does not pass the certification process, review all recommendations and immediately apply.

what is haccp certification


What is the easiest way to get your HACCP done?

You can write your HACCP plan manually or through the use of support software. Previously, you would have only had the solution to traditionally write the plan manually. 

The traditional practice of writing a HACCP plan involves intensely studying food safety news, regulations, and literature. Writing a HACCP plan manually can take you an average of 1 to 12 months to finish depending on the complexity of your plan and if you have knowledge of the essential foundation of HACCP.

You can significantly increase the progress of your HACCP plan writing by hiring a food safety consultant or seeking independent expert advice. Writing your plan can take only an average of 70 hours, but the cost can significantly double. 

With the help of technology, you can now use software programs to generate a comprehensive HACCP plan template and be HACCP audit-ready. The whole process can cut the traditionally needed time to just 1 hour.

An example is the HACCP plan food safety software from FoodDocs, which uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning program to accurately create a detailed template for your specific needs:


HACCP_template in FoodDocs

This is how the digital HACCP plan looks like in FoodDocs.


How to get your HACCP done in 1 hour?

What makes a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan hard to complete fast is the idea that it must cover every corner of your food business and that this process must be repeatedly done for every process or food item. HACCP food safety management is often product or process-specific, making them unsuitable for other processes in your food business.

At FoodDocs, we offer the only digital solution to provide you with a comprehensive and customizable HACCP plan template builder in the food chain industry. Our food safety software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning program to generate a comprehensive template for you.

The process would only require you to answer a few questions regarding your operation, and our system can do the rest. Generating your HACCP plan template can be done in an average of 1 hour.

Our system features customizable sections of your HACCP plan so you can further tailor it to your food operations and unique food safety standards, such as adjusting the complexity of monitoring procedures. When you use our HACCP plan template software, you can get the following:

create a haccp plan in 1 hour


  • Complete hazard identification and detailed analysis summary table
  • Critical control points
  • Critical limits for each CCP
  • CCP monitoring procedures
  • Corrective action procedures
  • Verification procedures
  • Record-keeping and documentation

What's more, our system also fulfills other HACCP requirements, such as prerequisite programs and other preliminary tasks that will ensure the safest and most solid foundation for your operations, including the following:

  • Allergen management plan
  • Waste management plan
  • Effective pest control programs
  • Laboratory analyses
  • Water quality management
  • Personnel hygiene and employee health management


This list is non-exhaustive, and you can get more when you sign-up and use our services.

Our system can help you create a HACCP plan 500x faster and 15x cheaper than hiring a consultant or creating it independently. You can focus more on the successful implementation of your HACCP plan.

Start your food safety compliance journey now and join at least 20,000 companies that have signed up with FoodDocs. Use our free 14-day trial and build your HACCP plan in an average of 1 hour.




Frequently Asked Questions

Need more in-depth information regarding HACCP? Here are some commonly asked questions.


What does HACCP mean?

HACCP is the shortened word for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and is a widely recognized food safety program in the food industry.


What are the 7 principles of HACCP? 

The seven principles of HACCP are as follows:

  1. Hazard identification and analysis
  2. Identification of critical control points
  3. Establishing critical limits
  4. Establishing monitoring procedures
  5. Establishing corrective actions
  6. Establishing verification procedures
  7. Record-keeping and documentation


What are the 3 stages of HACCP?

The implementation of a HACCP system can be divided into three stages: 1) implementation of preliminary tasks, 2) hazard identification and analysis, and 3) monitoring and verifying the implementation of HACCP.


What are the four types of food hazards?

The food industry considers four types of food hazards: biological, physical, chemical, and allergenic hazards.



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