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What is a HACCP Plan?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. It is a written plan that defines/states the procedures for maintaining control of potentially hazardous food at the critical control points (CCP) of food preparation or processing.

Who must have a HACCP plan?

If a food facility is classified as "high" or "moderate", a HACCP plan is required. A facility must have an approved HACCP plan before food service begins at new facilities. For existing facilities, the HACCP plan must be current.

Where can you find information on how to create a HACCP plan?

HACCP Plan: Designing a HACCP Plan for Your Facility (PDF)
Blank Menu Based HACCP Forms (MS Word)

School HACCP and SOP Guidelines

When is a HACCP plan required to be updated?

HACCP plans must be updated every time there is a menu change or a change in food processes or procedures that changes a CCP. For example, if soup used to be received commercially prepared, but now it is made from "scratch" on site, the HACCP plan will change. HACCP plans are valid for five (5) years if no changes have been made or sooner if regulations change that impact the permissible critical limits.

Where should a HACCP plan be kept?

A copy of the HACCP plan must be kept in the food preparation areas at all times. It is a good idea to have another copy in an office area in case the original becomes damaged. All employees handling food must know the location of the HACCP plan and how to use it.

Why is a HACCP plan needed?

Not only is a HACCP plan required per COMAR 10.15.03, it is also a valuable training tool if used correctly. An excerpt from the FDA's CFSAN guideline, "Managing Food Safety: A Manual for the Voluntary Use of HACCP Principles for Operators of Food Service and Retail Establishments", best sums up why a HACCP plan is a good idea:

"The principles of HACCP embody the concept of active managerial control by encouraging participation in a system that ensures foodborne illness risk factors are controlled.

…The success of a HACCP program (or plan) is dependent upon both facilities and people. The facilities and equipment should be designed to facilitate safe food preparation and handling practices by employees. Furthermore, FDA recommends that managers and employees be properly motivated and trained if a HACCP program is to successfully reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors. Instilling food worker and management commitment and dealing with problems like high employee turnover and communication barriers should be considered when designing a food safety management system based on HACCP principles.

Properly implemented, a food safety management system based on HACCP principles may offer you the following other advantages:
- Reduction in product loss
- Increase in product quality
- Better control of product inventory
- Consistency in product preparation
- Increase in profit
- Increase in employee awareness and participation in food safety"

If there are additional questions after reviewing this information, please contact a Food Program Representative at 410-535-3922.

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