Creating a HACCP plan from the ground up may seem like a nearly impossible task. The most important thing is to surround yourself with the right team. We have already explained the 7 main principles of a HACCP plan. Today we will explore step-by-step how to create a HACCP plan.

1. Build a team.

The first step in creating a HACCP plan is to bring together a multidisciplinary team. This will include engineers, production managers, hygiene and safety experts, microbiologists and a quality assurance specialist. You may also need to seek outside experts on potential biological, chemical and physical hazards.

2. Describe the product or service.

After assembling your team and selecting your contractors, you will need to describe the product or service that you provide. What kind of food do you intend to serve, what ingredients will you use and how will it be processed? You need to plan how you will distribute your product as well as the temperature that the food should be kept (frozen, refrigerated or at room temperature).

3. Define future consumers.

When creating a HACCP plan, you need to consider who your consumers are as well as the product. Children, the elderly and people with food allergies require special attention that should be outlined in the plan.

4. Build the flowchart and design the process.

The HACCP flowchart should provide a clear and simple explanation of all the steps involved in the process. It should include details of the process itself and also the steps that occur before (with suppliers) and after (with distributors). 

5. Confirm the flow diagram on location.

The team responsible for HACCP should check the flow diagram on-site in order to test its accuracy. When incomplete, it’s imperative to plan the necessary changes and to adapt and improve the HACCP plan. After this step, you can apply the 7 principles of a HACCP plan.

6. Conduct a hazard analysis.

When you create the HACCP plan, you should start by making an analysis of biological, chemical and physical hazards. The first stage of the hazard analysis is to identify the different hazards; the second is to evaluate them. Only then can you decide on the necessary measures to control them and prevent an accident.

7. Choosing critical control points.

Once the risks have been identified and the forms of control set, the second principle is to define the critical control points (CCPs). It’s also necessary to establish critical limits (Principle 3) and to monitor each of the CCPs (principle 4). Safety always comes first.

8. Action plan: how to fix mistakes?

However, a HACCP plan should go even further. The team needs to know how to act when CCPs are not within control lines. Corrective measures, such as preventing the batch from reaching the final consumer, should be implemented and a protocol should be established to identify possible reasons for the error.

In principle, the HACCP plan is complete. Now it’s time to put it all into practice and check your maintenance procedures. Quality control and product testing are essential and so too is sporadic equipment maintenance. Keep all this information organised and readily available so that it can be useful in a future review of the HACCP plan.