HACCP and Critical Control Point Guide
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic preventative approach to food safety that addresses physical, chemical and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. HACCP is used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards, so that key actions, known as Critical Control Points (CCP's) can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazards being realized. The system is used at all stages of food production and preparation processes. Today HACCP is being applied to industries other than food, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. This method, which in effect seeks to plan out unsafe practices, differs from traditional "produce and test" quality assurance methods which are less successful and inappropriate for highly perishable foods. We offer a variety of products to help you achieve HACCP/CCP standards.
The impetus behind modern HACCP programs first began as a natural extension of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) that food companies had been using as a part of their normal operations. A system was needed that enabled the production of safe, nutritional products for use by NASA starting in the late 1950’s to feed future astronauts who would be separated from medical care for extended periods of time. Without medical intervention, a sick astronaut would prove a very large liability and could possibly result in the failure of entire missions. Food products could not be recalled or replaced in space.
Beginning in 1959, the Pillsbury company embarked on work with NASA to further develop a process stemming from ideas employed in engineering systems development know as Failure Mode & Effect Analysis (FMEA). Through the thorough analysis of production processes and identification of microbial hazards that were known to occur in the production establishment, Pillsbury and NASA identified the critical points in the process at which these hazards were likely introduced into product and therefore should be controlled.
The establishment of critical limits of specific mechanical or test parameters for control at those points, the validation of these prescribed steps by scientifically verifiable results, and the development of record keeping by which the processing establishment and the regulatory authority could monitor how well process control was working all culminated in what today is known as HACCP. In this way, an expensive or time consuming testing procedure is not required to guarantee the safety of each piece of food leaving an assembly line, but rather the entire process has been seamlessly integrated as a series of validated steps.
In 1971 the HACCP approach was presented at the first American National Conference for Food Protection. 1973 saw the US FDA apply HACCP to Low Acid Canned Foods Regulations, although if you read those regulations carefully, you will note that they never actually mention HACCP. From 1988 to the present day, HACCP principles have been promoted and incorporated into food safety legislation in many countries around the world.
Beginning in 1996, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) established a detailed Pathogen Reduction / Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Point (PR/HACCP) program under the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to regulate the production of raw meat products by large scale facilities. There is currently no HACCP requirement in the US for food processors such as supermarket deli or butcher departments that purchase from certified producers.
Critical Control Point (CCP)
Critical Control Point (CCP) is a point, step or procedure at which controls can be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable (critical) levels. The most common CCP is cooking, where food safety managers designate critical limits.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes minimum internal temperatures for cooked foods. It is important to remember that these values can be superseded by state or local health code requirements, but they cannot be below the FDA limits. Temperatures should be measured with a probe thermometer in the thickest part of meats, or the center of other dishes, avoiding bones and container sides. Minimum internal temperatures are set as follows:
- 165°F (74°C) for 15 seconds
- Poultry (such as whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck)
- Stuffed meats, fish, poultry, and pasta
- Any previously cooked foods that are reheated from a temperature below 135°F (57°C), provided they have been refrigerated or warm less than 2 hours
- Any potentially hazardous foods cooked in a microwave, such as poultry, meat, fish, or eggs
- 155°F (68°C) for 15 seconds
- Ground meats (such as beef or pork)
- Injected meats (such as flavor-injected roasts or brined hams)
- Ground or minced fish
- Eggs that will be held for a length of time before eaten
- 145°F (63°C) for 15 seconds
- Steaks and chops such as beef, pork, veal, and lamb
- Eggs cooked for immediate service
- 145°F (63°C) for 4 minutes
- Roasts (can be cooked to lower temperatures for increased lengths of time)
- 135°F (57°C) for 15 seconds
- Cooked fruits or vegetables that will be held for a length of time before eaten
- Any commercially processed, ready-to-eat foods that will be held for a length of time before eaten
In addition, hot food must be held at a minimum internal of 135°F (57°C) if it is not immediately consumed. The temperature must be checked every 4 hours or else labeled with a discard time. Although monitored hot food can be held indefinitely in this way without a food safety concern, the nutritional value, flavor, and quality can suffer over long periods.