Step-By-Step How To Get A HACCP Certification?

What is a HACCP Certification? How to get a HACCP certification?

HACCP certification is an important step in food safety management. This blog will show you the steps on how to get a HACCP certification for your food facility, what to look for before your audit and HACCP audit timeline expectation.

The certification audit shows that you are serious about food safety and understand the requirements for compliance. Having a HACCP certification will demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of Food Safety requirements, which could lead to higher sales volumes because customers know they can trust you with their food.

There are several benefits to becoming certified:
1) You will be able to reassure customers that your facility meets all regulatory standards related to food safety;

2) Customers prefer organizations who are certified, as this demonstrates an increased level of commitment on behalf of the organization towards meeting or exceeding customer expectations;

3) Companies with a proven track record in terms of implementing effective quality management systems (QMSs), such as those carrying out HACCP certifications, tend to have fewer recalls than un-certified companies;

We will break down the steps that you need to take on how to get a HACCP certification, so you can accelerate your HACCP certification processes.

Step 1: Identify your food certification body and HACCP requirements 

If you are interested in getting your business certified under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) program, it is important to do your research. There are a lot of food certification bodies out there, so it’s important to do some upfront detective work. You should identify the requirements of the certification body you choose and ensure that their audit procedures align with your company’s safety goals.

When you are identifying which certification body would best suit your needs, take note of these two key points when choosing a certification body:
1. How long does it usually take for an institution to receive approval from this particular certification body and the support? This will give you a sense of the support that you can get for your certification body.

  1. What is the fee associated with the certification? Certification fees vary depending on the actual certification extent, auditor availability and report writing. You must be able to clearly understand the fee breakdown to avoid surprises in the final certification cost.

Step 2: Establish a food safety program 

You must develop a strong HACCP program to ensure that your food facility complies with all applicable food safety regulations. This includes procedures and guidelines for all your processes, from receiving to shipping.

Developing and implementing a plan is the first step to accessing how to get HACCP certification. There are several steps involved in getting your HACCP program up and running, but the timeline for each varies depending on your organization’s size, resources, availability of experts and how you manage the food safety program.

At SFPM Consulting, we can shorten the time it takes to less than 3 months, so you can meet your 3-month records requirements, aligning it with your audit timeline.

The following are some of the most important aspects of a HACCP program:

1) Hazard identification – You must identify potential hazards in your incoming and outgoing products and determine which pose the greatest risk to your food safety.

2) Critical control points (CCPs) – These are specific points at which you take action to prevent or reduce the severity of contamination. CCPs may include temperature controls, sanitation measures, and monitoring systems.

3) Monitoring and evaluation – You need to track how well your CCPs are working and make necessary changes as needed.

4) Corrective actions – If contamination is detected at any point during processing, you will take appropriate corrective actions based on the hazard(s), product(s), or environment involved.  1

1) Corrective actions may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Removing contaminated products from the line;
  2. Stopping production and conducting an investigation;
  3. Quarantining affected products;
  4. Changing manufacturing procedures.

It is important to note that your team must verify a plan. Your HACCP team is typically comprised of multiple team members from a cross-functional team interested in the product’s food safety and quality. These may include the HACCP Coordinator, QA Manager and their team, Production Manager and their team, Maintenance Manager and their team, Research and Development Manager and their team, Logistic Manager and their team, Sanitation Manager and their team, Sales and Marketing team etc.

The purpose of having a cross-functional team is to ensure that we do not lose any important information regarding the product, processes and production environment.

You can download a copy of an instructional HACCP plan template here.

Step 3: Implement HACCP procedures 

After you have a plan, it’s time to implement procedures. However, you should be aware that implementing HACCP can take a lot of time and effort.

A HACCP plan development and following the CCP alone would not make your process and food safe. You must ensure that the HACCP plan’s fundamentals are properly laid out. The fundamentals for the HACCP plan rely on Good Manufacturing Practices and the supporting prerequisite programs. You will find that the HACCP prerequisite programs are also used in other higher-level food safety programs such as SQF certification, BRC certification and FSSC 22000 certification.

Here is a list of HACCP prerequisite programs: Building Program, Water Management Program, Waste Management Program, Receiving and Shipping Programs, Storage Program, Chemical Management Program, Supplier Approval Program, Employee Hygiene Program, Employee Training Program, Maintenance Program, Calibration Program, Cleaning and Sanitation Program, Pest Control Program, Allergen Management Program, Foreign Material management Program and many more.

You can also obtain a copy of our expert-written HACCP templates and save thousands of dollars and time to start your program so you can focus on implementation here.

Step 5: Monitor and verify HACCP and food safety compliance. 

To achieve HACCP Certification, it’s important to ensure that your food safety procedures are followed correctly. To do this, you will need to monitor the process and verify compliance regularly.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to monitoring and verifying compliance, as each business’s environment and food safety requirements will differ. However, there are some key steps that you can take to ensure that you are meeting your HACCP certification requirements:
1) Establish a strategy for how often you’ll review the system and whether or not corrective action needs to be taken;
2) Create timelines for conducting reviews;
3) Identify who will perform inspections;
4) Train employees on correct procedures related to food safety handling;
5) Keep records of all inspections performed.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to implementing HACCP procedures, following these simple steps will help ensure a successful outcome while minimizing environmental impact.

Step 5: Perform an internal audit to find the gap in your HACCP program

Even if you have the best HACCP procedures, it isn’t complete without an overall assessment of how well the procedures fit into your program. An internal audit is a self-audit where you review your program against the requirements.

There are many reasons to do an internal audit. However, in my opinion, performing a full internal audit before your initial audit is especially important because our procedures are typically not stable at the initial development as we are testing the best way to comply with the requirements.

An internal audit will provide an overview of your distance from your HACCP certification requirements and allow you to correct issues before the audit.

Our HACCP certification package includes a quick internal audit or gap assessment so that our clients can rest assured that they will be ready for their upcoming audit.

Step 6: HACCP Certification Audit 

After taking the necessary steps to establish a food safety program, it is time to audit your program for compliance.

The HACCP certification audit is one of the most important steps in this journey. Remember, a successful HACCP audit depends on communication and cooperation between all parties involved. These include the auditor must be able to access all relevant data required for an accurate assessment; the management team must be willing to cooperate fully with the auditor during the audit process; personnel who have direct contact with food must be competent to monitor and verify the critical control points (CCPs); All CCPs need to be properly documented and communicated within your organization.

When you are well prepared with the HACCP plan and procedures implementation, trained personnel and have our internal audit support; you don’t have to worry about your audit.

You can focus on delivering your best self at the audit and know that you are supported at each stage.

To help you even more, we have a HACCP Guidance that you can use at our cost.

HACCP Certification Step-by-Step Assistant

If you’re planning on getting your food safety certification, then you’ll need to know the steps that need to be taken. We reviewed each HACCP certification step and what to expect along the way so you can be successful at learning how to get a certification.

Our  SFPM Consultant team helps our client step-by-step on how to get a HACCP certification and provides audit support so you know exactly what to expect and what to do to maintain your certification. Contact us here to start your project and obtain your procedures in less than four weeks, guaranteed.