A HACCP Team can be defined as being a group of people who have adequate skills and knowledge applicable to the development and implementation of a HACCP based food safety program. The requirement to assemble a team is documented in Codex HACCP at preliminary step 1 – Assemble the HACCP team.
What is the role of the HACCP Team?
The role of the Team is develop, manage and implement the HACCP system. This includes developing and implementing actions and procedures based on:
- The preliminary steps of HACCP
- The 7 HACCP principles
- Pre-requisite support programs
This is to be a group effort and should not be left the sole responsibility of one person.
Who should be on the Team?
The team should be multi-disciplinary. Representatives from all areas of the business should be included on the HACCP team including production, cleaning, maintenance, management, packing, stores, customer service and supply management. The aim is to have as much knowledge included on the team in:
- how the business works
- how the food products are produced
- what could go wrong and/or what has gone wrong
- what to do if something does go wrong
- HACCP and food safety compliance requirements
What qualifications should the members of the team have?
At a minimum, all team members should have a basic knowledge in HACCP and food safety. Team members should be able to identify and assess food safety hazards, develop and implement suitable control measures and investigate and report non-conformances.
The HACCP Team leader should have formal qualifications in HACCP (commensurate with any HACCP certification requirements). Major customer standards made stipulate the type of HACCP qualification required.
How often should the team meet?
Your team should meet as often as needed but as a minimum, it should be based on any external certification or customer requirements. Meeting frequencies can be weekly, monthly or quarterly – it really is up to you. When determining your meeting frequencies take into consideration the availability of HACCP team members, production size and your production schedule. Always make sure that you have a clear purpose or aim for your HACCP meeting. Any meeting should have ‘meeting minutes’ recorded which state who was present, what was discussed and any agreed resolutions.
Accept the Challenge
Often when people leave a position or a food business the document that outlines the team is not updated. It is not until an audit (internal or external) that this may be identified. Take the opportunity to check that the HACCP team you have documented in your food safety HACCP program is current. Take the opportunity to also review their HACCP and food safety qualifications to see if they are both adequate and current.