Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a system designed to assist the owners of food businesses in making sure that the food they produce and handle is safe to eat.
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HACCP is critical to a business’ compliance with international and national food safety legislation. Without it, your business could inadvertently fall foul of the law.
HACCP is an excellent risk management tool that’s designed to work in conjunction with other widely-used industry management systems, like the ISO 22000 Food Safety Management, for example. HACCP has courses applicable to all sectors within the food industry including, manufacturers, processors, service operators and producers.
If your business trades internationally, HACCP certification is particularly important as it meets the requirements of the CAC (Codex Alimentarius Commission). CAC was set up by the World Health Organisation, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. It is designed to promote cohesion between international guidelines and codes of practice in food standards worldwide, thus ensuring an equal trading platform for all.
Your company’s HACCP certification does not end with the issue of your certificate. An enforcement officer will routinely inspect your business to make sure that you have an applicable HACCP-based food safety management system operating.
1. Choose a HACCP Course Provider
The first step in your quest for HACCP certification is to choose a suitable course provider.
There are many providers of training courses to help you gain HACCP certification. Many of the courses available can be studied online with support from the provider in the form of webinars, phone discussions and email correspondence. Other courses are run at the provider’s premises and are primarily classroom-based.
Whichever type of course you choose to attend, you’ll follow the same basic pathway to certification.
2. Obtain A Copy Of The HACCP Standard
In order to get started, you will need to study a copy of the HACCP standard for your particular sector. This will make clear to you what you need for your individual business. Information on the requirements for different sectors can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.
The training course provider you choose will furnish you with a copy of the relevant document, but perusing the FSA information will give you an idea of what’s required, before you start.
3. Implement The Standard
When you have a clear understanding of what you’ll need to do in order to get certification, you can implement the standard within your business.
First, you need to write a HACCP plan, in accordance with the requirements set out in the relevant standard for your industry sector. It’s essential that you get this plan correct. Your training provider will give you detailed guidance on this, together with approval of your finished plan.
Once your training provider has approved your plan, you will be given full support to enable you to implement it within your business.
4. Formal Assessment For Your Business
Before you are officially assessed for certification, your training provider will carry out a review of your business to check that you have prepared for assessment correctly. They will ensure that the necessary HACCP controls and procedures have been put in place. If there are any omissions or areas that require refinement, you will need to address them.
Once all the requirements are in place, a further assessment will be carried out to make sure that everything you have put in place is working correctly and effectively, in line with the standard.
5. Final Formal Assessment And Audit
Finally, your business will be formally assessed by an independent auditor to ensure that your business is HACCP compliant. When you’ve passed, you’ll be awarded the HACCP certificate.
The certificate is valid for three years. During this time you will receive return visits from your client manager to ensure that you remain compliant and to help you implements further improvements to your management processes.
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HACCP certification is vital for anyone running a business in the food industry. Although it is possible to download a set of general guidelines and a template for a HACCP plan, it’s recommended that you undertake a training course with an experienced provider. The HACCP certification process is complicated, so it’s essential that the implementation of your plan is carried out correctly before your business is audited.