Is HACCP Certification mandatory in Australia?
HACCP or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points is a set of global guidelines for food safety. Codex HACCP is internationally recognised system for risk assessment of food safety.
Dairy, meat, poultry and seafood processors across Australia as well as those facilities falling under Dept of Agricultures’s Approved Arrangement scheme’s must also have a written food safety program. For example in NSW, poultry processors are regulated by NSW Food Authority. In Queensland, cheese manufacturers are regulated by Safe Food Queensland.
For Class 1 and Class 2 food businesses in Victoria, having a Food Safety Program is a mandatory requirement. This is outlined in Section 3.2.1 of the Food Standards Code¹.
For many Class 2 food businesses, the business can use the Victorian Dept of Health template. However, most class 2 manufacturing facilities have been asked by their local council to have independent food safety program.
The choice of what type of Food Safety Program (FSP) is yours and depends on your business’ maturity and its customer base. If you are a growing business that is looking to expand your operation and supply to a wider customer-base, we recommend you write up your food safety program using the Codex HACCP Guidelines.
Writing up a HACCP based food safety program enables a business to undergo HACCP Certification, and if well written, can be easily rolled into a GFSI based food safety program, such as SQF, BRC or FSSC 22000. (We have already done this for multiple HACCP Certification clients who have graduated to GFSI Certification).
HACCP is a globally recognised program, that ensures you adhere to the Food Standards Code.
HACCP Certification is your Ticket to trade. HACCP Certification opens the doors to supply your products to distributers and large retailers who require HACCP Certification in their supply chain.
What is HACCP Certification? (pronounced HASS-IP)
HACCP is a basic level of food safety that ensures you put control measures in place to anticipate issues that may arise with your food production processes. You implement your HACCP plan, and then you are audited on your documentation, production records and site each year.
What is involved in a HACCP Plan?
Maintaining a HACCP system is an ongoing job. It is detailed but it needs to be simple and easy so that everyone in the business understands. The documentation needs to prove that what lives in your HACCP plan is being implemented on the production floor. Therefore, in setting up your HACCP Plan, you need to get the right advice and make sure you are clear from the beginning.
Here are 3 things you need to consider when implementing HACCP:
- You need to assemble a HACCP Team – remember in very small businesses 2 people are a team and in very large businesses no more than 7 or 8, often around 5 people are good…then decisions get made. There needs to be a range of expertise in the team to have buy-in and knowledge from different parts of the business.
- You need to write a comprehensive Food Safety Plan based on the HACCP principles.
- It needs to be simple so that it can be understood by the whole business.
- It needs to exactly reflect your processes, and when they change, the HACCP plan needs to be amended. It needs to be reviewed at least annually.
- Your process flow chart is vitally important to the success of your HACCP plan and therefore your ability to pass an Audit. You will need to verify your flow chart by walking through your facility and checking every point.
- You need to ensure you have identified ALL your CPs, CCPs and QCPs. Your CCPs and QCPs should be summarised in a HACCP Audit table.
- Don’t forget all of your CCPs and QCPs need procedures, monitoring records with verification, calibration records and validation.
- You need to arrange a Third Party Audit to be conducted annually on your HACCP plan. This needs to be done by an independent Auditor. You need to ensure your facility is ready for audit, as doing badly may require you to undertake audits 6-monthly. In Victoria, for Class 1 and Class 2 facilities with an independent food safety program, it is mandatory to have a food safety audit with a Victorian Approved Food Safety auditor. We recommend you combine this with your HACCP Certification or GFSI Certification audit (ie. SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000) to save time and money.
We love Food Safety
At QMS Audits we love talking about Food Safety. You can find us delivering training on the GFSI standards* every week. We offer lots of options of training courses from Introductory 2-hour sessions, right up to 5-day Lead Auditor Training Courses. Food Safety is so important to us that we also conduct Food Safety Consulting, on HACCP, SQF and BRC too!
We always ensure our clients get the absolute best outcome at audit, which is peace of mind for all of us to know your food and your business is protected. Your customers will be happy to know that too!
Simple and Straightforward Systems
We keep our systems simple, straightforward, and honest. We want your documentation to be clear, well-maintained, and foolproof. The documents are the lifeblood of the Food Safety Program (regardless if it is in the HACCP format or not), and therefore your business. Without well-maintained documentation and supporting monitoring records, you cannot prove that you have complied with your food safety program and that you have kept your promises. We provide you will all the templates you need. Our food safety programs are customised line by line for each client. All the hard work has been done and tested at previous audits over and over. We really are very proud of our audit scores! We are very proud of the achievements of our clients!
If you’d like to hear more about any of our Food Safety services, please call us on 1300 404 505 for a chat.
- ¹ “A food business must (a) systematically examine all of its food handling operations in order to identify the potential hazards that may reasonably be expected to occur; (b) if one or more hazards are identified in accordance with paragraph (a), develop and implement a food safety program to control the hazard or hazards; (c) set out the food safety program in a written document and retain that document at the food premises; (d) comply with the food safety program; and (e) conduct a review of the food safety program at least annually to ensure its adequacy.” Standard 3.2.1 Food Safety Programs, Devision 2, 3 General Food Safety Program Requirements, Food Standards Code (Australia)
- HACCP: Hazards and Critical Control Points
- HACCP Certification: The act of maintaining a HACCP Plan and being audited on this plan annually
- CP: Control Point
- CCP: Critical Control Point
- QCP: Quality Control Point
- GFSI: Global Food Safety Initiative
- GFSI Standards include: SQF, BRCGS, FSSC22000
- SQF: Safe Quality Foods
- BRCGS: British Retail Consortium Global Standard
- FSSC22000: Food Safety Code from ISO
- 3.2.1 of the Food Standards Code.