HACCP Flow Chart

A HACCP flow chart is a diagram of the process flow of a food operation from incoming materials to the end product. A HACCP flow chart is normally constructed by a group commonly known as the HACCP Team or Food Safety Team. A HACCP team is a multi-disciplinary team that is utilized within an organization to develop the Food Safety Management System and HACCP plans.

This core HACCP team is usually supplemented by other staff when specific areas or products are being analyzed and by departmental staff who can contribute expert knowledge of their particular areas. A HACCP team should have knowledge and experience of HACCP, products, the process, the equipment, hazards and in developing and implementing a food safety management system. The team should be managed by a HACCP team leader who is able to demonstrate competence in the understanding of HACCP principles and their application.

The HACCP Team construct flow charts for the products and process categories covered by the scope of the food safety management system as an overview of the process and where there is a potential for occurrence, increase or introduction of food safety hazards.

The construction of a HACCP flow chart is one of five preliminary steps prior to applying the 7 HACCP principles as described by Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System and Guidelines For Its Application in the Codex Alimentarius Recommended International Code Of Practice General Principles Of Food Hygiene. These five preliminary steps are; assemble HACCP team, describe the product, identify intended use, construct a flow diagram and on-site confirmation of the flow diagram.

In constructing a HACCP flow chart the team are responsible for ensuring the flow charts are accurate and clearly show the sequence and interaction of all steps, outsourced processes and subcontracted work.

Flow charts should clearly show the stage(s) that:

  • Raw Materials enter the flow.
  • Ingredients enter the flow.
  • Intermediate Products enter the flow.
  • Packaging Materials enter the flow.
  • Reworking and/or Recycling take place.
  • End Products leave the flow.
  • Intermediate Products leave the flow.
  • By products leave the flow.
  • Waste leaves the flow.

The picture below shows an example HACCP flow chart:

HACCP Flow Chart

Flow charts can be much simpler or much more complicated depending on the complexity of the product, process and operation.

For each step in the HACCP flow chart the HACCP team will need to describe the step and the control measures so that at the next stage the team can identify and assess food safety hazards and their control measures. All aspects of the food process operation within the HACCP scope, from raw materials selection through processing, storage and distribution should be described. The HACCP should team describe each control measure in sufficient detail, including process parameter, to enable assessment of their effect on food safety hazards in relation to the degree of application of the control measure.

Once the HACCP flow chart is completed, the flow chart should be confirmed physically on site by the team by carrying out a walk through verifying all the steps identified. The HACCP team should then sign off a copy of the verified flow chart and this will be held on file.