Preliminary steps to enable hazard analysis

Cynthia Weber, April 24, 2009

FSSC 22000

At the core of your Food Safety Management system is your Hazard Analysis-Critical Control Points. The FSSC 22000 standard covers it in two parts: Preliminary steps to enable hazard analysis and Hazard Analysis.

Preliminary steps to enable hazard analysis: As you build your system, you will need to identify information that is needed to conduct an effective hazard analysis. You will also need to collect, maintain, update, and document this information. The first step to address these requirements is to establish your food safety team. They are the experts that will be conducting the preliminary steps. The members of the team will collect information on the characteristics of raw materials, ingredients, and end products and identify food safety requirements related to them and prepare descriptions to be used in the hazard analysis.

In addition to this information, the team will determine the intended use of the end products, considering the consumers of the product. It is up to the team to identify what potential risks there are of misuse or mishandling and if there is a particularly vulnerable group of people included in the consumers. The team documents the information to be used in the hazard analysis.

The next step is for the team to prepare flow diagrams for the products. The diagrams show the sequence and interaction of each step in the process for the product. It is important that this shows where raw materials, ingredients, and intermediate products enter the flow as well as where they are released or removed. All outsourced work is identified on the flowchart so it can be considered during the hazard analysis. Once the diagrams are prepared the food safety team verifies the diagram by onsite checking of the process against the diagram.

The last piece of information to prepare to enable hazard analysis is a description of the process steps and existing control measures. A description of any regulatory or customer requirements is included so they are addressed in the HACCP plan. Once all of this information is thoroughly documented by the team you are prepared to move on to the hazard analysis.