HACCP Template - How to set up a HACCP plan

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HACCP template is used by food establishments as a guide to establish a seamless HACCP system. Use this downloadable template to manage food safety hazards at your business place.


HACCP plan template: a step-by-step guide

HACCP is an effective tool to mitigate potential chemical, biological and physical hazards that can contaminate your food products. A separate HACCP plan is required for every single product and process. We will walk you through a step by step guide on how to set up a HACCP plan and creating and filling an HACCP plan template.

How to create a HACCP plan and use the HACCP template?

To implement HACCP, the company first needs to write an HACCP plan. Writing an HACCP plan involves 12 steps. First five are pre preparatory steps followed by the HACCP seven principles.

Record keeping is essential in HACCP. It needs to be done at every step. Templates serve as an important tool for record keeping. But what is HACCP plan and how to make one? Let's find out.

Steps to complete a HACCP template

Assembling an HACCP team

The first step is to assemble a team of individuals/experts who have in-depth knowledge relevant to the product & process for which the HACCP plan is to be written. The team should be multi professional. It should have experts from departments like engineering, food microbiology, production, sanitation and quality assurance.

Writing an HACCP plan requires technical expertise hence members of HACCP team must have an expertise and experience in the following areas:

  • Conducting a hazard analysis
  • Identifying potential hazards
  • Identifying hazards that need to be controlled
  • Recommend controls and critical limits
  • Suggest monitoring and verification procedures
  • Suggest corrective actions in the event of a deviation
  • Validate the HACCP plan

The team leader should have traits like being a good listener and ensuring that all individuals are active contributors. He must be able to steer the team towards a common goal of effective implementation of the plan. Besides raw material buyers, packaging specialists, production and distribution staff must also be temporarily included in the team. These are people who do actual groundwork and their inputs can be valuable in designing an effective plan

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Making a plan template

Now that you have your team in place, the next step is to begin work on your plan template.

To effectively use the template, it is important to understand the below terminologies:

  • Possible Hazards: Biological, chemical or physical contaminants which if not controlled can cause serious illness
  • Critical Limits: The maximum and minimum value at which a biological, chemical or physical parameter must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of a food safety hazard.
  • Monitoring: To use a system of measurements and observations to determine whether a CCP (Critical Control Point) is under control. One has to also ensure that these methods produce an accurate record for future audits/verification
  • Corrective Action: Procedures that have to be followed in the event where critical limits are not met
  • Verification: The activities that the HACCP undertakes other than monitoring to ensure that the HACCP system is working as planned. Verification ensures that the system is effectively working to control the potential hazards
  • Record Keeping: This means documenting each and every detail of your HACCP plan. There are mainly four types of HACCP record keeping. HACCP Plan and its supporting documentation, Critical Control Point monitoring records, record all the corrective actions taken and verification records

Things to remember when writing your HACCP plan

  • Use simple and easy to understand language
  • Keep the descriptions crisp and accurate
  • Keep it simple so that it is easy to understand and follow
  • Review and remove the information that is not relevant

Product description and distribution

The team needs to document a detailed description of the product. This includes vital information like description of food, ingredients being used and processing /production methods to be used. This activity helps in identifying and focusing on potential hazards. It is also important to specify how the food is to be distributed. Will the final product be distributed frozen, refrigerated or at room temperature? Information like the “shelf life” of the product, optimum temperature for storage etc. should also be mentioned. If possible, labelling information should also be dealt with at this stage. Given below is a specimen

 haccp templates

Intended use and target consumer

It is important to define the use of the product. What purpose is the product going to be used for? Is it a product for ready consumption? Is it a raw ingredient to be used at home/restaurant for cooking? Is the product to be further processed by the end user? Who will be using the final product? Is the food meant for consumption by all, or is it for a specific group like infants, people with certain deficiencies, elderlies etc. 

Develop a detailed process flow diagram

Having defined the product, its usage and target consumer the next step is to develop a detailed process flow or a CFD (Commodity Flow Diagram). The scope of the diagram is to outline all steps in the production system right from receiving the raw material to delivery of the final product. It should also mention any other process outside the food chain process if it is mandatory. All the processes that are within the control of the organization have to be mentioned in this diagram. The purpose of the diagram is to mention all steps involved in the process in a proper sequence so that it’s crystal clear to all parties involved. This diagram need not be as complex as an engineering diagram or an architectural blueprint. A simple flow chart works. Please refer to the specimen below:

 haccp templates

Inputs of the product specialist is extremely crucial at this stage. However, the product/commodity systems will be different in different parts of the world. The system is built taking into context the product and local regulations. There is no standard set of rules here

Verify the flow diagram

Once the flow diagram/CFD is developed, the HACCP team has to verify the whole process. The team visits the actual worksite (processing unit, manufacturing unit, packaging facility, restaurant as the case may be) and compares the CFD with what the actual sequence of events.  This step is important to test the completeness and accuracy of the process flow. In case there are any gaps found the same needs to be documented and necessary changes done in the diagram. It is a good practice to visit the site multiple times for which HACCP is being written. These visits ensure that all data that is recorded is accurate.

The above listed prerequisites are imperative to a good HACCP plan. These are as important as a strong foundation in building a house. Once this groundwork is complete, the last and final step is setting in motion the 7 HACCP principles

Businesses stand to benefit in multiple ways by using these templates. They help businesses maintain error free documentation, identify and define operational limitations, track work history, generate reports, store all records in one place, and perform regular audits and inspections. 

They are like a report card on where the business stands and what improvements are required.