Food Safety Management System and the 7 Principles of HACCP

chef preparing food as part of food safety management system and 7 principles of HACCP

If you serve food that’s not fit for consumption, the effects for both your customers and your business can be significant. Being suspected of food poisoning isn’t the best form of advertising! However, this can be easily avoided.  To help you to ensure that any food prepared and served on your premises is fit for consumption an accepted method of food safety management system called HACCP should be followed.

What is HACCP?

HACCP  stands for hazard analysis critical control point.  This is a food safety management system that prioritises, and controls potential hazards associated with food production. This is achieved by identifying potential hazards and then establishing control systems which focuses on prevention rather than relying on end-product testing.  All food businesses need to have a HACCP plan in order to keep food safe from biological, chemical and physical hazards.

What is a HACCP plan?

The HACCP plan needs to identify:

  • the hazards that must be prevented, removed or reduced to acceptable levels. These could be microbiological (e.g. bacteria), chemical (e.g. cleaning products) or physical (e.g. broken glass);
  • the points at which control is essential to deal with the identified hazards;
  • limits for critical control points (CCPs);
  • monitoring procedures for CCPs;
  • corrective action to be taken where the monitoring indicates that CCPs are not working effectively;
  • procedures in place to make sure the plan is working; and
  • records to show that the measures listed above have been taken.

The level of detail included in the plan should reflect the size of the food business and the type and complexity of work that it carries out.  We have taken the above plan and summarised them below as the 7 principles of HACCP.  These 7 principles are what is required to demonstrate a fully effective food safety management system.


Principle 1 Conduct a Hazard Analysis:

Identify all potential hazards and when they are likely to occur, and then establish control measures needed to prevent them from transpiring.

Principle 2 Identify the Critical Control Points:

These are the points in the preparation or production stages which must be controlled as they are critical to food safety.

Principle 3 Establish Critical Limits:

The critical limit is usually a measure such as time, temperature, etc. An example of this is cooking food to a core temperature of 75°C.

Principle 4 Monitor Critical Control Point:

Conduct checks at each critical control point to ensure control measures are effective to prevent hazards occurring.

Principle 5 Establish Corrective Action:

If critical limits are not met, corrective actions are needed to rectify the issue.

Principle 6 Verification:

Systems are to be established to demonstrate the HACCP system is working.

Principle 7 Documentation:

Records and documentation for the HACCP system are to be established.

It is important that documentation is maintained for all checks that are carried out. A diary should be kept for recording the checks that have been carried out, when and by whom.   A 4-weekly review period to identify any concerns that have been noted during the checking process is a good arrangement to introduce as part of the food safety management system.

Free Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) Risk Assessment Template

If you are looking for a risk assessment template that can be used to document your high level HACCP process, then you can download a copy of our template that breaks food preparation down into nine critical points.  This is one way of documenting your process and would be more suited to a small business with simple processes.

How can we help?

We can only provide an overview of the 7 principles of HACCP and the key areas that need to be considered.  If you are involved in the preparation of food, or you’re responsible for setting up a food safety management system, then having a greater understanding of HACCP and how to apply it is essential.   We have a CPD Approved HACCP level 2 online course that will guide you through this process in much more detail and provide downloadable forms, checklist, charts, etc to help with this process.   Being able to download documentation to assist is a valuable resource, so don’t lose out on this feature. If you have not yet provided food hygiene and safety training to your staff, take a look at our food safety and hygiene training options.  There is also lots of advice available from the food standards agency website in relation to current requirements.

If you require any further help or advice on any matter relating to health and safety, do get in touch.

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