HACCP plan

Prerequisite of HACCP – What are prerequisite programs?

Building complex food safety systems require a few subsequent steps in the form of prerequisite programs (PRPs).

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Building complex food safety systems require a few subsequent steps in the form of prerequisite programs (PRPs).

  • Prerequisite programs are required for any type of food business, whether for food manufacturers or retail food stores.
  • They are part of an effective HACCP Plan and create conditions where hazards are reduced to acceptable levels.
  • Prerequisite programs are easily created with the help of FoodDocs.

Operations such as regular cleaning and sanitation, and even proper handwashing to avoid cross - contamination, are all part of a bigger food safety program. As the term suggests, prerequisite programs must be satisfied to establish more complex food safety plans such as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).

Establishing correct prerequisite programs builds a solid foundation for other food safety plans and shows a firm commitment to protecting public health. These operations can significantly minimize the pressure on implementing food safety plans as the hazards are already addressed in the earlier stages of the production process.

Do you have no idea which prerequisite programs apply to your food business? We made this article just for you. Read on to learn more about PRPs and their significance to the food industry.


food handlers discussing prerequisite programs


What are prerequisites in food hygiene?

Food hygiene can only be achieved in the food business with the right tools and knowledge of what causes foodborne illnesses that have adverse health effects and how to control them. It is the responsibility of a food safety management and production supervisor to provide the necessary conditions and prerequisites to create a hygienic working and service environment

Here are a few prerequisites to achieving food hygiene in your food business:

  • Knowledge and food hygiene training. Food handlers with direct control over service must be properly acquainted with the significance of food safety. They must have enough knowledge on how it can be achieved through proper food hygiene. Adequate training on handling foods and keeping the environment clean to prevent loss of production safety is a must for every food handler.

Although in the UK, food handlers are not required to have any kind of certificate, it is the management's responsibility to provide basic training on how to handle foods. Understanding the consequences along with the proper operations can help food handlers appreciate food hygiene more.

  • Adequate control measures. Process controls are controllable steps in your daily operations that help maintain food safety. Control operations include proper cooking, storage conditions, supply of quality materials, and routine maintenance of all equipment. The application of such procedures helps prevent contamination from occurring. 
  • Proper design of facilities. The layout and design of your food business facility contribute to food hygiene. You must ensure that the design, such as the materials used and the layout of your establishment, does not attract nor collect contamination, including pest droppings and dust.

This prerequisite also includes the presence of operational equipment that help maintain food safety, such as temperature, humidity, and lighting level controls in the processing area. Another example would be the installation of a ventilation system to prevent airborne contamination.

  • Tools and equipment for cleaning. To achieve proper food hygiene, food handlers must be able to perform operations such as handwashing, cleaning, and sanitizing your facility and food contact surfaces. To do this, you must provide the proper tools and equipment, such as a handwashing sink as well as brushes, mops, and cloths for cleaning.
  • Food safety management system. This prerequisite includes a set of systematic operations with the objective of controlling contaminations and preventing them from causing foodborne illnesses with severe health effects. The most widely noted food safety plan in the food industry is the HACCP plan. It contains a comprehensive set of information and other minor plans that help food handlers ensure compliance with food safety regulations. But do not worry, in FoodDocs, you get HACCP Plan done in 1 hour. 

Before finalizing a HACCP plan, your team must ensure that your business complies with the basic prerequisite programs (this is also covered in FoodDocs HACCP Plan template). Satisfying these prerequisites solves the most basic food safety issues, allowing food handlers to focus on more complicated hazardous threats.



What is a prerequisite program?

A prerequisite program (PRP) in food safety is a system that provides the basic conditions to operate in a safe environment for the production of wholesome food. These programs can be treated as the foundation of every succeeding food safety plan.

Prerequisite programs are composed of basic food handling practices and manufacturing procedures that promote safety and good sanitary condition. These conditions address basic food safety issues without the need for complex monitoring records.

The prerequisite programs have traditionally been based on current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) As the food industry grew, more prerequisite programs have stemmed from this practice.

The term prerequisite program is often mistaken for other systems that make up a food safety plan. Terms such as the Operational Prerequisite Program and Critical Control Points are always mistaken with PRPs. Despite this, these terms are very different from each other. We encourage you to read further to understand the difference.


food safety plan builder


Prerequisite Program vs HACCP Plan

The prerequisite program is a part of the HACCP Plan. Prerequisite programs are called as such because they need to be satisfied first before a food business can confirm a HACCP plan. PRPs are preventive maintenance procedures that layout the solid foundation for more complex plans with stringent and specific controls for food safety. Operations such as pest control programs help higher food safety plans control the potential presence of physical and biological contaminations. 

The operations under the PRP are preliminary steps for maintaining food hygiene and safety. On the other hand, a HACCP plan consists of other more comprehensive process steps and systems that aim to control specific health hazards. HACCP is a bigger program under which PRPs are. 

Want to learn more? Read our previous blog post about how to write a HACCP plan in the traditional and digital ways.


HACCP prerequisites vs Operational Prerequisites

HACCP prerequisite programs and operational prerequisite programs are both essential for the success of a HACCP plan. The two categories of operations have different functions and benefit a food business differently as well. 

Operational prerequisite programs (OPRP) target a specific food safety hazard. It can be monitored, but only to an extent and without the application of critical limits. This means, that monitoring procedures for OPRPs are only limited to a yes or no answer regarding their effectiveness. 

In addition, OPRPs are not intrinsic in nature. This means that while their contribution to the production process is important, removing them will not affect the safety or the quality of the production. An example would be installing a detector for foreign materials or physical hazards. While this operation acts as an activity of verification, removing it for some businesses will not significantly affect the production process.

As discussed, PRPs are not designed to target a particular hazard with unacceptable health risks. They are applied to generally create a safe environment for food production. PRPs, unlike OPRPs, must always be present. The basic food hygiene practices included in PRPs are required by higher food safety plans to work.


HACCP prerequisite vs Critical Control Point

Critical control points are the last operation that will control a specific hazard with critical limits based on regulatory standards, whereas PRPs are general operations that do not require limits. Where CCPs can be operations such as cooking that require limits of internal temperature, PRPs such as proper hygiene are only monitored for being properly executed. 

A critical control point is accompanied by monitoring forms, critical limits, and comprehensive verification procedures to follow. On the other hand, PRPs are just controlled through steps such as training and checklists. CCPs rely on accurate identification of hazards and their analysis accompanied by a biological risk assessment. A CCP is used to control an identified and analyzed hazard to acceptable levels, whereas a PRP helps keep all potential hazards at a minimum even before they reach a CCP.

Both CCPs and PRPs require deviation records for verification activities. 


Comparison of OPRP, CCP, and PRP-1



Who needs prerequisite programs?

Prerequisite programs are required for any type of food business, whether for food manufacturers or retail food stores. As long as you are dealing with wholesome food production, distribution, service, and even food retail, you would need to apply PRPs in your food operations. These programs include basic operations that help minimize contamination of products in food service operations and food processing plants.

A good example of a PRP that applies to all food businesses is Good Manufacturing Practices. This PRP includes food operations such as proper personal hygiene, regular cleaning and sanitation procedures, food premises layout, and proper conduct during working hours. 

The application of methods in PRPs is essential to creating a safe working environment. These sanitary conditions are for both the food employees and the safe food products they are handling. Loss of control over the subsequent steps of PRPs may lead to safety issues such as the contamination of products with rippling effects. 

At FoodDocs, we have the perfect digital solution in which all types of food manufacturers and sellers can get their prerequisite programs sorted out. In addition, and after your PRPs are established, our digital solution can create a comprehensive and customizable digital HACCP plan template for your team. Thanks to our AI-powered solution, you will get it all done in just one hour!

Learn more about it in the last section of this article.


Examples of prerequisite programs for HACCP

A food safety plan relies on prerequisite HACCP requirements to become effective. The PRPs of a food business address food safety issues and make them more manageable for Critical Control Points.

Here are some of the most common prerequisite programs used in the food industry:

  • Good Manufacturing Practices
  • Sanitation Standard Operating procedures
  • Waste management plan
  • Pest control program
  • Traceability and recall plan

Note that all these are responsible for different areas of food safety and therefore complement each other.

Programs may also involve control of food safety in receiving incoming materials, water systems, laboratory checks, and other areas that contribute to the safety of your finished products. While these programs do not require critical limits, they are essential in keeping the environmental conditions safe for the production of food for consumption.

Responsible food business operators must be acquainted with all standard operating procedure documents related to their tasks for effective application. This is to help them perform all PRPs correctly all the time. 


example of prerequisite program


HACCP prerequisite program checklist

Depending on the nature of your food business operations, there are prerequisite programs that will contribute significantly to food safety. 

Not sure which areas need prerequisite programs? Here is a short HACCP prerequisite program checklist for food establishments:

  • Equipment calibration procedures
  • Effective maintenance program
  • Cleaning and sanitation program
  • Water safety procedures/ Water treatment procedures
  • Structure and layout of the facility
  • Waste management
  • Pest control activities
  • Personnel hygiene and employee health
  • Food safety staff training
  • Raw material production and receiving (includes temperature control)
  • Layout zoning
  • Supplier control
  • Stock control
  • Recall and traceability
  • Allergen control program
  • Audits and inspections
  • Product labelling and packaging materials

Each PRP must have a complete set of instructions on how they can be performed, the personnel involved, and appropriate corrective actions for deviations when applicable. The operational records established for PRPs must always be accessible to all food business operators, especially those in charge of the operation.


How to set prerequisite of HACCP

Prerequisites are set in a food establishment by making detailed documentation. These accurate records include instructions on how to perform the PRPs and the involved personnel in each operation. These documents will then be used to instruct employees and as a reference in case of non-compliance.

In making a HACCP prerequisite program, standard operating procedures must contain the following information:

  • Procedure title
  • Description and rationale of the prerequisite operation
  • Individuals responsible for the operation with the titles of personnel
  • Situations where the operation is applicable
  • Procedure on how to perform the operation
  • How often should the operation be performed
  • Monitoring frequency and procedures to ensure that food handlers correctly performed the operation
  • Verification procedures
  • Corrective actions in case of non-compliance

Creating standard operating procedures for each PRP can be time-consuming. Let alone, they need to be always flexible to accommodate changes and improvements, especially after a food safety audit.

Fortunately, there is a faster way to get all prerequisite programs done and your HACCP plan as well in just a matter of 1 hour. Sign up for our free trial and experience how powerful our software is.


How can FoodDocs help create prerequisite programs? 

Prerequisite programs are essential for a business in the food chain of production. While some countries do not require stringent food safety systems, PRPs are the minimum regulatory standards and the essential foundation for producing safe food products. In addition, they set up the necessary operating conditions to make food safety plans successful.

As such, you need to generate complete documentation of each program that applies to your food establishment. With so many prerequisite programs to document, it will take you days before you even get to making your HACCP plan, which will take more time.

Luckily at FoodDocs, we can help you generate all the necessary prerequisite programs and a customizable HACCP plan template in just 1 hour. Powered by artificial intelligence, our system can generate the most applicable PRP documents for your food establishment. 

Our system will generate PRPs complete with the following information:

  • PRP Title
  • Description and rationale of PRP
  • Preventive procedures
  • Monitoring activity and personnel responsible
  • Corrective actions

HACCP plan - Waste management

FoodDocs PRP Waste Management


When you use our digital solution, you can get PRPs for the following operations:

1. Food handling environment. Includes preventive measures such as basic employee practices in handling food and operations that create a safe working environment.

2. Maintenance of environment and devices. Prevents unexpected equipment failure through regular maintenance and calibration procedures and ensures that every piece of equipment is working. 

3. Cleaning and sanitation. Includes food operations for cleaning all areas and food surfaces that come in contact with food products in your establishment. This section also has preventive measures against chemical contamination of product from non-food chemicals.

prp_cleaning_and_sanitation FoodDocs

FoodDocs PRP Cleaning and Sanitation


4. Waste management. Set of operations to create a clean working environment free from food waste products and potential biological hazards that may come from them. 

5. Pest Control Program. Includes food operations that help control the presence of pests as well as operations to prevent cross-contamination from the solutions used to eliminate pests. 

6. Food contamination. A program that encompasses preventive controls for chemical, biological, and physical contaminations, such as adequate separation of tools to prevent cross-contamination.

7. Laboratory analyses, water control. A program used to prevent the spread of microbiological hazards that may come from contaminated water and its use all over the food establishment. 

8. Allergens and consumer information. Protocols for handling allergenic and non-allergenic foodstuff. 

9. Personnel hygiene, medical condition and training. Contains directives and standard procedures for food business operators when preparing food, as well as how employees with adverse health conditions can affect food safety.

10. Selection of suppliers and raw materials. This program includes operations needed for selecting suppliers and the safety and quality control operations used to evaluate the raw materials they provide.

11. Temperature and shelf-life control. Includes preventative measures for controlling the condition of storage between packaging and delivery (e.g., storage temperature and humidity) as well as for handling foods that have gone past their expiration dates.

12. Customer complaints and withdrawal/recalling of unsafe food. A comprehensive proper control measure on how to handle complaints from customers and potential recalls minimizing food safety issues. 

Our digital solution can save your team a significant amount of time that you otherwise need to spend on crafting these PRPs. With our solution, you can focus just on customizing the HACCP plan that we can automatically generate for you.

In addition to PRPs, our software can generate a customizable, digital HACCP plan template complete with all the essential sections of a HACCP plan. You can get a food safety plan with the following components:

  • Established hazard identification and analysis
  • Established critical control points
  • Critical limits
  • CCP monitoring procedures
  • Corrective actions
  • Verification procedures
  • Record-keeping and documentation procedures.

create a haccp plan in 1 hour


Our digital solution can help you get your HACCP plan with detailed PRPs done 500x faster than hiring a food safety consultant or doing your plan the traditional way. We can help you achieve food safety compliance in just 1 hour. All you need to do to get your HACCP plan template is answer basic questions about your operations, and our system can do the rest.

Ready to start creating prerequisite programs right now? Request our free 14-day trial and get your HACCP plan done in an hour. 



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