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HACCP Plan: What is it + How To Write One [GUIDE]

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan is a systematic approach to food safety that helps identify potential hazards in the production process and implement controls to prevent them. It is crucial for food manufacturers to ensure that their products are safe to consume, and a HACCP plan can play a significant role in achieving this goal. In this guide, we will explore what a HACCP plan is, why it is essential, and how to write one. Whether you are a food manufacturer or simply interested in learning more about food safety, this article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the HACCP plan and its implementation. So, let's dive in and explore the world of HACCP planning!

What Is An HACCP Plan

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan is a preventive approach to food safety that was developed in the late 1950s by a team of scientists and engineers in collaboration with the Pillsbury Company and NASA. The primary objective of the HACCP plan is to prevent, eliminate, or reduce food safety hazards to an acceptable level by identifying critical control points in the production process.

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In simple terms, a HACCP plan is a risk management system that is used to identify and manage potential hazards associated with the production of food products. It involves a systematic approach to assessing, identifying, and controlling hazards at each stage of the food production process.

History of HACCP

The history of the HACCP system dates back to the 1950s when it was developed by a team of food safety experts for the US Army. The primary aim was to maintain food safety and avoid any foodborne illnesses among the troops. Later, the HACCP system gained popularity in the food industry due to its effectiveness in identifying and controlling food safety hazards.

The HACCP system is a preventive approach to food safety management, which is based on the identification of critical control points in the production process. A critical control point (CCP) is any point in the process where a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to an acceptable level.

To determine critical control points, the food production process is broken down into steps, and each step is analyzed for potential food safety hazards. Raw materials, equipment, and personnel are evaluated to identify any potential hazards that could arise during the production process.

Once critical control points are identified, critical limits are established to ensure that the hazards are controlled. Critical limits are the maximum or minimum values that must be met to prevent, eliminate, or reduce a food safety hazard.

Monitoring is essential in a HACCP system, and it involves checking the critical control points to ensure that they meet the established critical limits. Monitoring can be done through visual inspection, testing, or any other suitable method.

If the monitoring indicates that a critical limit has not been met, corrective action must be taken to bring the process back into control. Corrective actions are steps taken to identify the cause of the deviation, correct the problem, and prevent it from happening again.

Finally, record-keeping is an essential aspect of the HACCP system. All critical control points, critical limits, monitoring results, and corrective actions must be documented. This documentation provides evidence that the HACCP system is being implemented correctly and is effective in maintaining food safety.

In conclusion, the HACCP system has been instrumental in the food industry in maintaining food safety for over half a century. By identifying critical control points, establishing critical limits, monitoring, taking corrective actions, and maintaining accurate records, food manufacturers can ensure that their products are safe for consumption. The HACCP system is a vital tool in the food industry for maintaining food safety and preventing foodborne illnesses.

HACCP Plan Example


John and Jane's Restaurant

John and Jane had always dreamed of opening their own restaurant. After years of planning, saving, and searching for the perfect location, they finally found a space in a bustling downtown area. They were thrilled to start serving delicious meals to their community.

However, as they began setting up their kitchen and preparing to open, they realized that they needed to take food safety seriously. They had heard about HACCP plans and knew that they needed one to ensure that their food was safe for their customers.

Hazard Analysis

They quickly got to work, conducting a hazard analysis to identify potential food safety hazards in their kitchen. They identified biological hazards, such as foodborne pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli, as well as chemical hazards from cleaning agents and physical hazards like broken glass or metal fragments.

Critical Control Points

Next, they identified critical control points in their production process. They realized that the receiving and storage of ingredients, the cooking process, and the storage and handling of finished dishes were all critical control points and needed to establish critical limits for those.

Critical Limits

They established critical limits for each of these control points. For example, they established temperature and cooking time requirements to ensure that harmful bacteria were destroyed during the cooking process. They also established cleaning schedules and limits on the use of cleaning agents to prevent chemical contamination.

Monitoring Procedures

They then set up monitoring procedures to ensure that their critical control points were under control. They regularly monitored cooking temperatures, conducted visual inspections for physical hazards, and tested cleaning agents to ensure that they were at safe levels.

Corrective Actions

John and Jane also established corrective actions to take if a critical control point was not under control. For example, if a dish was not cooked to the required temperature, they would send it back to the kitchen for additional cooking. If they discovered a physical hazard, they would immediately remove the affected food and clean the area thoroughly.

Verification Procedures

Finally, they set up verification procedures to ensure that their HACCP plan was effective. They conducted regular audits of their plan, tested finished dishes for contaminants, and reviewed their corrective actions to ensure that they were effective.

Record Keeping and Documentation

Through this process, John and Jane realized that implementing a HACCP plan was not just about complying with food safety regulations; it was about protecting their customers and building a reputation for safety and quality. They were proud to display their HACCP certification in their restaurant and reassure their customers that they were committed to their safety.

As a result of their hard work and commitment to food safety, John and Jane's restaurant quickly became a popular destination for foodies in their community. They knew that their success was due in part to their dedication to ensuring that their food was safe and delicious.

In conclusion, setting up a HACCP plan can be a complex process, but it is essential for ensuring food safety in a restaurant setting. By conducting a hazard analysis, identifying critical control points, establishing critical limits, setting up monitoring procedures, establishing corrective actions, setting up verification procedures, and documenting their plan, John and Jane were able to ensure that their food was safe and build a successful restaurant.

Hazard Analysis Example for John and Jane's Restaurant

Processing Step

Potential Food Safety Hazards

Preventive Controls Required


Preventive Control Measures

Control Applied

Raw Chicken



Common pathogen found in raw poultry

Proper cooking and handling of raw chicken, eggs, and pork


Raw Ground Beef

E. coli


Common pathogen found in raw ground beef

Proper cooking and handling of ground beef and leafy greens


Deli Meats and Soft Cheeses



Can grow at refrigerated temperatures

Proper handling and storage of deli meats and soft cheeses, check temperature of refrigerated foods regularly


Fruits and Vegetables

Pesticides, Other Chemicals


Pesticides and chemicals can remain on produce

Proper washing of fruits and vegetables, inspection of produce quality and washing procedures


Cleaning Agents

Chemical contamination


Cleaning agents can be hazardous if misused or stored improperly

Proper use and storage of cleaning agents, regular inspection of cleaning agents and their use


Dishes and Utensils

Physical contamination


Proper handling and storage of dishes and utensils can prevent physical contamination



Meat Processing



Proper processing and storage of meat can prevent bone fragments in final product




Process Control Step


Critical Limits


Corrective Action

Record Keeping


Undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or fish

Internal temperature of 165°F or higher for at least 15 seconds

Use calibrated thermometer to measure internal temperature

Remove undercooked food from service and cook to correct temperature; retrain staff on cooking procedures

Temperature logs, employee training records, corrective action logs


Bacterial growth, improper cooling techniques

Cool from 135°F to 70°F within 2 hours, and to 41°F within 4 hours

Measure temperature of food during cooling process

Rapidly cool food to 70°F within 2 hours, then to 41°F or below within an additional 2 hours; retrain staff on cooling procedures

Temperature logs, cooling procedure documentation, corrective action logs


Contaminated food, temperature abuse

Temperature of 41°F or below for refrigerated foods, 0°F or below for frozen foods

Check temperature of food upon delivery and document in receiving log

Reject and return any contaminated or out-of-temperature food; retrain staff on receiving procedures

Receiving logs, temperature check records, corrective action logs

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Chemical contamination, inadequate cleaning or sanitizing

Concentration of cleaning and sanitizing agents according to manufacturer instructions

Visual inspection of cleaning and sanitizing procedures

Retrain staff on proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures; re-clean and re-sanitize affected areas; check concentration of cleaning and sanitizing agents

Cleaning and sanitizing logs, concentration check records, corrective action logs


How Can A HACCP Plan Best Be Implemented

Implementing a HACCP plan is crucial for any food industry business, especially in food preparation, to prevent food safety risks. Establishing critical limits and monitoring them regularly is essential in ensuring that your food products are safe for consumption. It's also crucial to train your staff members on the HACCP plan, so they understand their role in the process and can identify potential hazards.


Regular data analysis is also necessary to identify trends and potential issues and make necessary adjustments to preventive controls. By holding staff members accountable and conducting regular audits and inspections, you can ensure that the HACCP plan is being followed consistently.

To streamline the HACCP plan implementation process, consider using a food ERP software solution like Inecta Food ERP. With this software, you can automate data collection and analysis, streamline monitoring and reporting, and easily track compliance with regulatory requirements.

In conclusion, implementing a HACCP plan is essential for protecting your customers and your business from potential food safety risks. Remember to follow a systematic approach, regularly monitor critical control points, hold staff members accountable, and consider using a software solution like Inecta Food ERP to streamline the process. Take action today to ensure the safety of your food products and the success of your business.

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