Script: Designing a HACCP Plan – Part 4
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Hello and welcome! This is Sheila Johnson and Dr. Ron Jones from the Food Safety and
Inspection Service. Today we’ll be discussing part four in a ten part series on how
meat and poultry plants go about Designing a HACCP Plan. We have already covered a
general overview of HACCP. We have discussed the preliminary steps and the first
principle which is conducting a hazard analysis. Let’s tackle the next principle -
identifying critical control points.
Ron, can you tell us what critical control points are?
Sure, a critical control point (or C-C-P as some refer to them) is defined as a point,
step, or procedure in a food process at which control can be applied and, as a result,
a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to acceptable levels.
They’re important because everything in your HACCP plan revolves around the proper
identification of critical control points.
What are some common critical control points you see in most HACCP plans?
Well, for instance chilling or freezing to a specified temperature to prevent bacteria
from growing, or cooking that must occur for a specific time and temperature in order
to destroy bacteria. Another common critical control point is prevention of
cross-contamination between raw and cooked product.
Where are critical control points located in my plan?
At a step in the HACCP plan where you’re controlling any hazard that is reasonably
likely to occur. Remember, the step at which the critical control point is located
does not necessarily have to be at the point where the hazard is introduced into the
system. It can be later in the process. For instance, pathogens introduced into the
process on raw meat may be controlled by a cooking step later in the process.
Do plants making the same product all have the same critical control points?
Good question Sheila. No, different plants, preparing the same food, can identify
different food safety hazards and different critical control points. Usually no two
plants have the same floor plan, equipment, or ingredients, so the critical control
points you identify will reflect the uniqueness of your processing plant.
Are there tips available to help plants identify critical control points?
Some simple questions I like to use at each step to help identify the critical control
- Do preventative measures exist or should they exist for the identified
hazards? If the answer is yes, this may be a critical control point. So, then I
- Does this step eliminate or reduce the likely occurrence of a hazard to an
acceptable level? If the answer is yes, this step is a critical control point. If
the answer is no, then I ask -
- Could contamination with identified hazards occur in excess of acceptable
levels or could these increase to unacceptable levels? If the answer is no, this
step is not a critical control point. If the answer is yes, I ask -
- Will a subsequent step eliminate the identified hazards or reduce the likely
occurrence to an acceptable level? If the answer is yes, it’s not a critical
control point. If the answer is no, the step is a critical control point.
Thanks for breaking that down for us. I think that makes
it a lot simpler. And, thanks to all of you out there for listening. For more
information on Designing a HACCP plan visit
www.fsis.usda.gov. Join us for the next episode in our series "Designing a HACCP
Plan” where we will talk about the third HACCP principle "Establishing Critical Limits
for each Critical Control Point."
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