What Does ”Kill Step” Mean in a HACCP Plan?

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Are new to food production and food safety? One food safety term that you will see over and over again are the words “kill step”. Sounds scary you say? Not so scary, but oh so necessary. A kill step is a hazard control in a HACCP plan. HACCP plans are often your first and best food safety system you should have in place. FoodReady food safety software, HACCP builder and food safety consultants can help you create a HACCP plan for your food process. We are offering an introductory free 14 day trial of our food safety software.

Different Types of Kill Steps

A kill step refers to a part of food processing that kills bacteria. The not so big baddies that can make us sick.

Different Kill Steps


A good example of a kill step is cooking meat to a minimum temperature to kill bacteria like salmonella. There are specific temperatures and amounts of time at those temperatures that are required to kill these pathogens. For instance, chicken meat must be heated to an internal temperature of °165 to kill salmonella.


Sushi is delicious right? I prefer sushi that has been made from previously frozen fish, because parasites are killed in fish that have been frozen for a period of at least 7 days.


Heating food or liquid to destroy unwanted microbes. We have pasteurized milk to prolong shelf life of milk and kill unwanted microbes that make humans sick.


Produce is washed in special anti-microbial chemicals so people can consume raw produce and not become ill.

Some special processing like vacuum sealing food does not always use a kill step, but instead relies on pristine sanitation a tight vacuum air seal to keep bacteria out and limits how much bacteria can grow due to lack of oxygen.

FoodReady.ai is a food safety software and consulting company. Our software has a HACCP builder, food traceability, you can create your own checklists to manage your HACCP plan or track other items, ingredients, tasks, or events. With our Enterprise program you will have access to food safety quality assurance professionals who can help you with GFSI, SQF, GMP, SOP, BRC, CGMP, HACCP, gap analysis, or prepare for audits like the Costco audit, the Whole Foods audit, Publix audit, Kroger audit, Safeway audit, Meier audit, HEB audit and more. Click here for a free 14-day trial of our food safety software.

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