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Developing your HACCP Plan: Documentation and Records

This principle focuses on the records and documentation needed to show that all activities have been performed according to approved procedures.

Documentation provides clear instruction on the approved processes so that each person knows how to perform the process in the approved manner.

Records show that the work performed was done in compliance with these procedures. The standards require specific procedures and documents as well as requiring the organization to identify documentation that it needs to develop, implement and update the FSMS. Your documentation must include:

Food Safety Policy and Objectives

  • Documents needed for the effective development, implementation and updating of the FSMS
  • A documented PRP program
  • Documentation of raw materials, ingredients and product contact materials
  • Characteristics of end products
  • Intended use of end products
  • Flow diagrams for products or process categories
  • Description of process steps and control measures
  • Methodology and parameters used for selection of control measures
  • HACCP Plan
  • Procedure for Corrections
  • Procedure for Corrective Action
  • Procedure for Control of Nonconforming Product
  • Procedure for Withdrawals
  • Procedure for Internal Audits
  • Procedure for Document Control
  • Procedure for Records Control


The standard calls out specific records that are required. These are in addition to any records required by statutory, regulator or customer requirements. They include:

  • Records of communication
  • Records of management review
  • Records of contracts with external experts
  • Records of training
  • Records of preliminary steps for hazard analysis
  • Records of verification of PRPs
  • Records of the food safety team members qualifications
  • Verified flow diagrams
  • Results of hazard identification and assessment
  • Records of operational PRP monitoring
  • Verification results
  • Traceability records
  • Records of HACCP monitoring
  • Records of internal audits and verification activities
  • Records of review of product manufactured when operational PRPs were not within conformance limits
  • Records of corrective action
  • Records of withdrawal
  • Records of calibration
  • System updating activities

The documentation and records are a critical element of the food safety management system. They will help control your processes and ensure that they are done in a consistent and approved manner.

The records will enable you to evaluate the system, show that work was done in a manner that was planned and approved, and show that work and product complies with requirements. Without the documentation and records there really is not a formal system in place.
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Benefits of HACCP

The primary purpose of a HACCP system is to protect people from food borne illness, but the benefits of the system also extend to the company.

  • Increased confidence in your products
  • Ability to reach markets and customers that require a HACCP based system
  • Reduced Liability
  • Effective process management
  • Improved quality and consistency
US Government HACCP Page