Script: Designing a HACCP Plan – Part 3
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Hello and welcome! This is Sheila Johnson and Dr. Ron Jones
from the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Today we will
discuss part three in a ten part series on how meat and
poultry plants go about designing a HACCP plan. Now that
you have a general understanding of the preliminary steps
of HACCP and the seven HACCP principles, let's get down to
the specifics. Developing a HACCP plan starts with the
first principle, conducting a hazard analysis.
Ron, when we left off at the last podcast we talked about
the process flow diagram. What’s next?
The HACCP team should conduct a hazard analysis. This is
basically when the team prepares a list of the steps in the
process that if not controlled effectively will be
reasonably likely to cause injury or illness and the
preventative measures the plant uses. It’s important to
remember, that hazards identified as being significant in
one operation may or may not be significant in another
operation producing the same or similar product.
How does a HACCP team get started conducting a hazard
First, they look over the product or process description
and look for information that could affect public health.
For example, if consumers who are at high risk for illness
will consume your product, then you may need to look at
certain biological hazards in your process more closely.
What are some questions you can ask yourself to understand
the hazard identification process better?
That’s a good question. You could ask yourself, does the
product need to be refrigerated or frozen during transit?
Will the amount of acidic ingredients affect the growth and
survival of bacteria? Or have additives been added to kill
Do you need to look at the packaging also?
Yes, you need to look at the product ingredients and
packaging materials. Ask yourself questions such as: Could
these ingredients or packaging materials contain any
pathogenic bacteria, dangerous chemicals, or harmful
What else needs to be done?
The third step is determining if any food safety hazards
exist for each processing step listed in the process flow
diagram. You could ask yourself, could contaminants reach
the product during this processing step? Could bacteria
multiply during this processing step?
Once we have identified all of our potential hazards, how
do we determine preventive measures?
Preventative measures are based on regulatory limits or on
other scientific documentation. For example: proper
handling and cooling temperatures, separating raw and
cooked products, and checking to see that chemicals are
being stored and used properly. Remember, your goal is to
apply preventive measures at specific steps in your
process to prevent, eliminate or reduce the hazard to an
When you break it down like that it sounds pretty easy.
It is. Sometimes it’s the case that more than one
preventative measure may be required to control a specific
hazard, or that more than one hazard may be controlled by
one preventive measure. As you go through the hazard
analysis, you may recognize preventative measures already
in place in your production process. The key to successful
hazard analysis is to link these measures to the food
safety hazards you have just identified and document your
So when we’re done with the hazard analysis we should have
- identification of hazards reasonably likely to occur;
- identification of the associated preventive measures that can be applied to control these hazards;
- decision-making documents to support your hazard analysis.
That’s right, this is the basis for determining which
points are critical for ensuring food safety standards are
Thanks Ron for providing us information on conducting a
hazard analysis 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 second HACCP
principle "identifying critical control points."
Well, that’s all for this episode. We’d like your feedback on our podcast. Or if you
have ideas for future podcasts, send us an e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about food safety, try our web site at
www.fsis.usda.gov. Thanks for tuning