HACCP Certification is a system that recognises that a food business has developed, documented and implemented systems and procedures in accordance with HACCP. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control point and is basically a tool to help identify and control food safety hazards that may occur within the food business.
HACCP certification is granted by an external certification authority that has the necessary knowledge and skills to undertake an assessment of the HACCP system or HACCP plan. The food business should always ensure that the external or third-party HACCP certification body has the necessary qualifications to provide this service.
Different businesses will have HACCP certification for different reasons. It is a common “condition of trade” that food business and food manufacturers have HACCP certification. In some countries it is also mandatory or a legal requirement that the food business has a certified HACCP system in place. Proactive food businesses will gain HACCP certification to ensure that all possible food safety risks are covered – which makes good and logical business sense.
To gain HACCP certification by a reputable HACCP certification provider, the food business is required to undergo an audit or assessment of its food safety and HACCP policies and procedures. This assessment is required to be undertaken by a competent and qualified food safety auditor.
To check the credentials of food safety auditors you can visit www.rabqsa.com which is the professional body for food auditors. The audit process will involve and on-site inspection of the food business practices and a review of both company documentation and records.
It really depends on the rules that apply to the type of certification you are trying to achieve and also the physical size of food business. Food HACCP audits can take anywhere between 1 day and 5 days. Again, it depends on the audit scope.
This will depend on the size of the food safety system and the actual physical location. When budgeting for HACCP certification, costs to be considered include actual audit costs (both internal and external), cost of development, cost of implementation, cost of maintaining the HACCP system, cost of business / customer loss if not undertaken and also cost of training staff in HACCP.
The development of a HACCP based system in conjunction with a through and rigorous HACCP certification process can indeed be beneficial to the success and viability of a food business.