The seven principles aim to focus attention on the identification and control of microbiological, as well as chemical and physical food safety hazards during production. The hazard assessment and the regular monitoring of critical control measures must be documented to provide the basis for audit checks and may provide evidence of due diligence in the event of legal action.
In meat plants HACCP plans will focus on control measures that can reduce the likelihood of contamination of meat from microbiological hazards, such as Salmonella, E.coli O157 and Campylobacter, during production. These meat-borne pathogens can be carried by healthy animals and cannot be detected by sight or smell.
Although thorough cooking kills most bacteria, meat may be handled by lots of people before it is cooked and the bacteria will spread to other foods that may not be cooked. Bacteria multiply very quickly, especially in warm conditions. Retailers and consumers need to take precautions, including temperature controls and keeping raw meat and cooked meat and other ready to eat foods separate.
Conscientious implementation of HACCP principles by plant operators demonstrates their commitment to food safety; improves employee awareness of their role in protecting consumers, and emphasises management's responsibility for the safe production of meat.