HACCP plan

What is the purpose of a HACCP program? HACCP program example

HACCP is the most widely acknowledged food safety program in the food industry and is often used as a standard for ...

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HACCP is the most widely acknowledged food safety program in the food industry and is often used as a standard for other food safety plans.

  • The HACCP program is used to identify potential hazards in a food processing system and set up controllable processing steps to maintain safety.
  • The HACCP program is a comprehensive systematic approach to ensuring that food businesses are only producing wholesome food.
  • A HACCP program example consists of the following parts 1) hazard analysis, 2) critical control points, 3) critical limits, 4) monitoring procedures, 5) corrective actions, 6) verification procedures, and 7) record-keeping and documentation.

The term Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is very prominent in the food industry. This program has long been applied in manufacturing companies to minimize and control risks in the production chain that protect the welfare of consumers. In this article, we will learn what the HACCP food safety program is and what constitutes an effective HACCP program example.

The first HACCP food safety program was conceptualized in 1960 by NASA. The program aimed to provide astronauts with food that is safe for consumption in space without the risk of any kind of foodborne illness. The project uses the Critical Control Point system to determine which steps are most prone to risks.

After NASA's success, do you know which food company produced the first HACCP food safety program in the 1950s?

Soon after the success of the HACCP program for NASA, Pillsbury, together with the help of the National Conference on Food Protection (NCFP), established a food safety program to solve their recurring product complaints. The company became the first food production company that produced the first HACCP food safety program.

After the establishment of the first HACCP program, it became the standard HACCP program for food companies around the globe.


haccp program example


What are HACCP programs?

A HACCP program is a standard food safety management system in the food industry composed of critical control measures and monitoring procedures that help ensure that food safety is a top priority and is always upheld. The Food and Drug Administration identifies that a HACCP food safety program is made to prevent any problems regarding food safety from occurring even before they happen.

This food safety program contains comprehensive control procedures to prevent producing hazardous food for consumption. A HACCP program is used to establish controls, standards, and monitoring procedures to ensure that raw materials used and finished products produced by your food business will not cause any foodborne illness.

 The program starts by identifying potential hazards in your food business and analyzing these hazards to understand the needed controls. It can be applied to retail food stores, food processing plants, and food service businesses.


How do you create a HACCP Program?

Several hours of brainstorming, evaluation, and documentation go into creating a good enough program. A food safety program cannot be completed without satisfying a set of prerequisite programs. These programs are foundations of hygiene measures, conditions, and requirements. They aim to produce a sanitary environment and minimize the risk of hazards. They are guides for properly designing facilities, implementing guidelines, and verifying standards and processes. Prerequisite programs aim to promote proper design, implementation, and comprehensive verification of processes.


Let's see some of the most common HACCP prerequisite programs that are required for the initial implementation of a HACCP food safety program.


  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)


GMPs involve methods, equipment design, facilities layout, and ingredient handling practices for producing processed foods. This prerequisite program also includes minimum sanitary design principles for producing safe and wholesome products.

It is a part of food quality control that ensures products are consistently produced and controlled while minimizing contamination. GMP includes adequate and effective training for company employee practices.

Read our comprehensive article about GMPs from here.


  • Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP)


SSOP is a set of guidelines that aim to maintain a certain level of sanitary conditions in manufacturing and provide a daily monitoring guide for its maintenance. This prerequisite program prevents the production of hazardous foods by ensuring that food handlers know how to clean and sanitize food areas.


  • Effective Pest Control Programs

This prerequisite program aims to implement four basic principles: deny entry, shelter, food, and destruction.


  • Raw Material Control
  • Production Control
  • Facilities Zoning
  • Water quality management
  • Waste Management


Some of the important aspects of these programs include training personnel in terms of hygiene and proper behavior in the manufacturing facilities. These programs include orientation and regular reminders on how to use protective gear, operate machinery, and keep the environment consistently clean.


food safety programs


What does the HACCP program do?

The HACCP program ensures the food items and finished products that your food business produces are always safe for consumption. This food safety program was developed to address potential threats to public health.

The program includes food safety plans to control all types of food safety hazards throughout the food chain, from raw material production or receiving up to the delivery of finished products to the consumers. Building a HACCP program takes time and several rounds of revisions from the initial plan. 

Recently, more automated solutions that can help you expertly create a HACCP program to produce safe food are becoming more available. Our team offers the best digital solution for food businesses at FoodDocs. With our digital HACCP plan template builder, you can get a comprehensive HACCP plan that you can further customize to fit your food service operations. 

Our digital solution fulfills the basic and some advanced steps of the HACCP program, saving you a significant amount of time and money. Using our solution, you can get your customizable, digital HACCP plan template in just 1 hour.


food safety plan builder


How many steps are there in a HACCP program?

In the food industry, a HACCP program is made by following five preparatory steps and seven main principles.


Preparatory steps for a HACCP food safety program

  • Assemble HACCP team

The members of an effective HACCP food safety program must consist of people who are independent experts in the specific process being evaluated. This means that they must have a specific responsibility to play in the processing as much as in developing the HACCP program. The whole team must consist of people from varying fields of production to ensure that all aspects are covered.


  • Product description

A full description of the product should be made, including relevant safety information such as food composition, physical/chemical structure, packaging, durability, conditions of storage, and method of distribution.


  • End-user description and purpose of product

The product's intended use must be clear, and what must not be done, mixed, or prepared with the materials. Similarly, product consumers must be identified. This aspect of a HACCP food safety program includes those not allowed to consume the product due to allergy or vulnerability to severe illness.


  • Create a block-type flow diagram

This process flow diagram will serve as a complete guide to how the basic conditions of making the product are executed. It will also serve as the backbone of the HACCP food safety program in determining the critical control points.


  • Verify the block-type flow diagram

Upon mapping a diagram of the process for illustrative purposes, the team must ensure that all inflow and outflow of resources are considered by conducting an on-site inspection and verification.


haccp program steps


FoodDocs provides you with easy-to-use HACCP software to create your own HACCP program that you can print out for the whole group. If your business is new to the game, you might have questions such as “which requirements apply to my business?” or “what is a HACCP program, and why do I need to follow it?”. At FoodDocs, you will also learn how to make a food safety program step-by-step, and we support you in all steps. You do not need any prior knowledge to complete HACCP Plan.


HACCP program principles

Principle 1) Conduct hazard analysis

After satisfying the preparatory stages, the team is tasked to list several health hazards along with the whole processing flow. These hazards can be chemical, biological, or physical hazards and are identified as anything which can cause harm to the consumers when ingested. Identifying these hazards is a significant task as this will determine the managing actions of the HACCP food safety program.

The team must accurately identify which among the listed hazards can cause significant problems if deviations occur. Such potential hazards can cause severe health effects if not closely monitored. Hazard analysis considerations such as the assessment for illness caused by the hazards can be used to establish controls. 


Principle 2) Establish Critical Control Points (CCP)

After hazard analysis, the HACCP team must establish a controllable processing step to prevent the spread of the identified hazards. A critical control point involves food operations that prevent the multiplication of pathogens through the cooking process and proper heating times. Other CCPs include chemical methods for testing ingredients for chemical residue and analytical testing of physical contaminants such as glass on food.

Critical operations aim to control identified hazards to safe levels. The establishment of CCPs is based on satisfying particular parameters, such as the event that there is no succeeding step to control the hazard. Determining CCPs can be properly performed using tools such as a decision tree or a risk assessment matrix.


Principle 3) Establish Critical Limits

Deviations, although unwanted, can be set to tolerable limits. This task is where the team must create minimum and maximum critical limits to critical control points to render the manufacturing process adequate. 

Critical limits dictate the tolerable safe levels for critical control points. Loss of control or breach of critical limits may cause an imminent threat and unacceptable health risk to public safety.


Principle 4) Monitoring procedures

A HACCP food safety program must consist of continuous monitoring procedures to ensure accurate recording for future verification to determine if a critical control point is being controlled. These monitoring procedures will also be used for traceability purposes.

Examples of monitoring activities include microbiological and chemical measurements for the presence of potential hazards. Procedures for monitoring are always accompanied by control factors, such as food temperatures and water activity during a thermal process like drying. The complexity of monitoring depends on the type of CCP and hazards being controlled. 

Ideally, food handlers need a monitoring procedure that works on a continuous basis to ensure that all products are food safety compliant. The problem is, it's sometimes impossible to perform sampling when the process is ongoing. As such, batch basis monitoring procedures are often used.


Principle 5) Determine corrective action procedures

Critical limit deviations are sometimes inevitable despite establishing control points, especially if regular maintenance procedures are not observed. As part of an effective HACCP food safety program, the team must develop appropriate corrective actions to address minimum or maximum critical limit deviations. The approach may differ in each situation.


Principle 6) Verification procedure

After the successful implementation of the HACCP program, regular verification of its effectiveness as well as efficiency is important. This addresses whether the program is still fit for the current processing method layout and only results in producing safe food products.


Principle 7) Documentation and record-keeping

An effective HACCP program has a good traceability system that roots in proper documentation and accurate records. As such, it is part of implementing it to file all documents about the, particularly concerned process.

Here is a standard HACCP program example normally used in the food industry:

HACCP plan example



HACCP is an integral program of a food safety system

A company's performance is just as good as its approach to food safety. Establishing a good HACCP program assures your consumers that they will receive quality and safe products. Implementing an effective program requires essential knowledge of what a HACCP program is by learning the basic principles and steps to create a working HACCP program example. Prerequisites for a HACCP program are equally important and are considered the foundation of a good HACCP system.

While food businesses always have the option to seek expert advice for building a HACCP program, there is a better, faster, and more efficient solution. At FoodDocs, we offer a digital solution for fulfilling all of the integral parts of a HACCP plan and the most essential criteria for food safety. 


With our customizable digital HACCP plan template builder, you can get the following HACCP plan parts:

  • Identified and analyzed potential hazards
  • Critical control points for each hazard
  • Established critical limits
  • CCP monitoring procedures
  • Corrective action plan
  • Verification procedure
  • Record-keeping and documentation procedure

HACCP plan. Instructions FoodDocsHACCP Plan in FoodDocs software


In addition to the major parts of a HACCP program, we can help you set up your prerequisite plans, such as pest control, waste, and allergen management plans. All parts of the automatically generated HACCP plan template can be customized for the addition of information. 


HACCP plan - Allergen management plan


FoodDocs helps you achieve all these things and even helps you create your HACCP program and deliver it at the tip of your fingers in just an hour. Start your food safety compliance and save time and resources using our customizable HACCP plan template builder.

You can enjoy our services for free using our 14-day trial





Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have a lot of questions related to what is HACCP program? Check out our answers to frequently asked questions on this topic.


Which food production company produced the first HACCP program in the 1950s?

The Pillsbury Company helped develop the first HACCP program in the 1950s and was the first food production company to implement it. The project was a collaboration between Pillsbury Company and NASA to produce safe food for the first space expedition of the US. Read more about the history of HACCP here.


What is monitoring in a HACCP program?

Monitoring techniques in a HACCP program refer to established observations that collect information on whether a control measure is food safety compliant. These operations are specific to an established critical control point and consist of parameters for recording. 


What is the purpose of a HACCP program?

The main purpose of a HACCP program is to properly identify potential hazards in a food production business and set up appropriate controls to keep these potential hazards at acceptable levels. The program is applicable throughout the food chain process, from raw material production to finished product distribution. It also helps reduce the need for end-product testing to ensure food safety. 


What is the last step of a HACCP program?

The last process step of a HACCP program is the record-keeping and documentation procedures. This process includes the collection of the HACCP plan, monitoring records, employee training records, verification reports, layout, and all other food safety documents. Recordkeeping allows you to store proof that your establishment is running compliant with food regulations and regulatory standards.



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