Developing a HACCP Plan the Five Preliminary Steps

Pre-HACCP Step 1

Bring Together the HACCP Resources/Assemble the HACCP Team

The first step is to assemble the HACCP resources and team.  For the development of a HACCP plan, a meat processing company should bring together as much knowledge as possible.  Companies should assemble written materials and company documents that relate to food safety as well as assemble a team of individuals that represent different segments within the industry. One HACCP coordinator with HACCP skills should be appointed. HACCP skills are not necessary for other members to be on team. The team should be multi-disciplinary and represent all areas of plant such as engineering, production, sanitation, and quality assurance. Some companies may consider including outside experts from universities or trade associations. Larger companies may develop teams of seven or eight people while small companies may have teams as small as two or three people.

The HACCP Coordinator should have overall responsibility for the HACCP program and should play the role of team leader. The HACCP coordinator must have management skills, must be trained in the HACCP principles and needs to have the company resources to implement HACCP.

Pre-HACCP Step 2

Describe the Product and its Method of Distribution

The second step is to describe completely each food product the plant makes. This can include a brief description of how the process occurs and/or how the product is produced or prepared. This will help to focus on potential hazards that may occur in the product. To describe the product, the company should answer the questions in the form below.


Product Category Description


The following areas need to be defined when developing the product category description.

  1. Common Name/Description:
  2.  Process Description:
  3. How is it to be used?
  4. Type of Package?
  5.  Length of shelf-life; at what temperature?
  6. Where will it be used?
  7. Labeling instructions:
  8. Is special distribution control needed?


Pre-HACCP Step 3

Develop a Complete List of Ingredients and Raw Materials

The third step is to develop a written list of ingredients and raw materials for each process/product.  The ingredients and raw materials will help to focus on potential hazards in the meat product produced.  Some processors have found it helpful to divide the ingredients as indicated in the form below.


Product and Ingredients


Meat Ingredients:

Non-Meat Ingredients:

Restricted Ingredients:

Packaging Materials:



Pre-HACCP Step 4

Develop a Process Flow Diagram

The next step is to construct a process flow diagram that identifies all the steps used to prepare the product, from receiving through final shipment, that are directly under the control of the processing plant.  After the flow diagram is constructed it should be verified by walking through the plant to make sure that the steps listed on the diagram describe what really occurs in producing the product.

Pre-HACCP Step 5

Meet the Regulatory Requirements for Sanitation

Good sanitation is the most basic way to ensure that a safe product is produced.Maintaining good sanitation serves as an excellent foundation for building a HACCP plan.It also demonstrates that plant management has the commitment and resources to successfully implement the HACCP plan.The regulatory requirement that must be met in USDA inspected facilities.