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The Seven Principles of HACCP

4 August 2023

Food handling businesses are legally obliged to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure based on the seven principles of HACCP.

At first, the HACCP system may seem complex. However, the HACCP process is just a step-by-step process that examines how food is handled. The purpose of this process is to ensure the food produced is safe to eat.

The word HACCP is an abbreviation for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. To better understand the process, this abbreviation can be split in two parts:

  • HA – Hazard Analysis and how we identify all possible risks, and
  • CCP – Critical Control Point. For example, the CCP for cooking food is 75°C and no cooked food should be served at a temperature below this. The exact temperature of cooked food can be measured using a probe.


List of The Seven Principles of HACCP

The Seven Principles of HACCP are as follows:

1. Identify all the hazards that food might be exposed to.

This includes physical, chemical, microbiological and allergenic hazards. Once these hazards are identified, all the preventive measures for each hazard should be listed. Food safety hazard is anything that affects the safety and quality of food. A food safety hazards can endanger the health of a consumer. They can originate in the ingredients, the production process or the final product itself. Some additional information can be found in our blog entry from 5th May 2023 titled Food Safety Management System (FSMS).

2. Identify the Critical Control Points.

There will be various points in the process where hazard exists, but not all of them can or need to be controlled. Food may contain bacteria when delivered, but as long as the food is heated thoroughly and sufficiently to kill all bacteria later on in the process, controlling the microbiological hazard on delivery is not critical. However, carrying out the heating step correctly is vital.

3. Determine Control Actions for each CCP.

Once the critical control points have been identified, control actions can be decided and written down. Precise and clear measures and targets should be defined and documented for every CCP. The actions to be taken will obviously depend on the situation.

4. Establish the monitoring methods for each CCP.

The control actions are then monitored at given intervals. This is to ensure daily control of critical processes. Monitoring in food service relies on various temperature measurements. Daily audits should be carried out to ensure equipment is set up and working correctly. In addition, regular audits will ensure that the hygiene processes are completed satisfactorily and that the food safety policy has been followed. The frequency of monitoring depends on the level of risk. All monitoring results should be recorded.

5. Establish a registration and documentation system (good record-keeping).

Keeping records of all monitoring results and procedures is helpful to ensure and to demonstrate that a food business has taken all reasonable precautions to minimise risks. Good documentation endorses the quality of the work performed.

6. Establish the corrective actions for each CCP.

For all CCPs, pre-planned corrective measures should be defined for situations when the control criteria are not met. For example, if food has not been cooked well enough, it should be cooked again or thrown out. The procedures to regularly measure the CCPs, as well as the responsible person for each task, need to be defined.

7. Verification.

Checking that the HACCP system works. Any food safety system needs to be kept up to date. Audits, microbial testing, review of documents and evaluations of employee training will help to ensure this and that the HACCP system is working well and comprehensively. A regular review of practices should be carried out regularly  to ensure that all the procedures are being actively followed at all times.


The Safe Catering Guide

Any Food Safety Management System, HACCP included, must be documented. All records must be maintained and available for inspection when required. Records are important to demonstrate the system is being implemented and managed effectively. Records might include HACCP documentation, deliveries, temperature monitoring, pest control, sampling, customer complaints, cleaning schedules, staff training, etc. For convent, affordable and efficient staff training solutions please check eLearn Safety fully online food safety courses.  The HACCP system should be reviewed annually, if there are any changes, or if something goes wrong.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has developed a guide that is based around the HACCP system. The Safe Catering Pack contains colour coded, easy to understand tick charts that cover hazards, controls and critical limits, monitoring/verification and corrective actions. General food safety information is also included as well as a wide range of forms for monitoring and taking records. This guide also includes specific/chemical contamination and food allergies.


Online Food Safety Training

Please remember – it is a legal requirement that staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity!

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Food Safety (HACCP) courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email