What is Validation in a HACCP Plan?

Validation in a HACCP plan is the process by which the control measures implemented in a HACCP plan are tested to ensure that they are effective. It is a critical step in the development of a HACCP system because it ...

What is Validation in a HACCP Plan?

Validation in a HACCP plan is the process by which the control measures implemented in a HACCP plan are tested to ensure that they are effective. It is a critical step in the development of a HACCP system because it ensures that the system is properly designed and that all necessary controls have been included.

Validation starts with an assessment of the program, which is conducted by an individual or team that has no prior knowledge of the program. This group or person evaluates the plan for inconsistencies and omissions, ensuring that all critical parameters have been identified and addressed. While only required for manufacturers of acidified and low-acid canned foods, we like the idea of using a food process authority to validate your process.

A food process authority can help with validation and validation protocols.

A food process authority  can partner with you to evaluate the worst-case parameters of your processing equipment. They can determine where the cold spots are. They can tell you which part of the product is exposed to the shortest time of processing. They can measure temperature drift over the duration of a long shift. They can scientifically determine the longest run time for your equipment. There are so many variables to assess, and a food process authority will make sure you are addressing all the variables.

A food process authority is often a food engineer or chemical engineer. You want to hire someone who has been in a lot of food facilities with a variety of processing equipment. With experience like that, they will have applied their knowledge in many operations and may have seen a setup like yours or worked with the same equipment at a different facility.

Validation protocols test each component.

The next step is designing validation protocols, which will be used to test each component of the program. These protocols should include information about how each control measure will be tested (what methods will be used) as well as when and how often they will be tested during normal operations.

Validation protocols must also include details about what happens if a problem is found after testing has occurred. Incorrectly calibrated equipment or improperly trained staff can lead to serious food safety issues, so it’s important to know how these issues will be resolved if they’re discovered before or after validation testing has been completed

Foodready 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.

FAQs

Validation and verification are both critical components of a HACCP plan, but they serve different purposes. Validation, as described in the article, involves confirming that the control measures and the HACCP plan as a whole are scientifically and technically sound to control the hazards effectively. It is about ensuring the design of the HACCP plan is capable of achieving its objectives. Verification, on the other hand, is the ongoing activity confirming that the HACCP plan is being implemented correctly according to its design. Verification activities can include regular checks of CCPs (Critical Control Points), calibration of monitoring equipment, and review of records to ensure compliance with the HACCP plan.
The frequency of HACCP plan validation can depend on several factors, including changes in the process, equipment, ingredients, or product formulation. It is also advisable to conduct validation activities whenever there is a reason to believe that the existing control measures may no longer be effective. Generally, it is a good practice to review and validate the HACCP plan annually to ensure it remains effective and up-to-date with any changes in the production process, regulatory requirements, or industry standards.
Yes, a HACCP plan can have too many control measures, which may not only be inefficient but can also dilute the focus on measures that are truly critical to food safety. Validation helps by ensuring that each control measure is both necessary and effective for its intended purpose. Through the validation process, unnecessary control measures can be identified and eliminated, allowing the focus to remain on critical points that significantly impact food safety.

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Saro Loucks

Saro Loucks is the Director of Content and a Food Safety Advisor for FoodReady. Saro is certified in HACCP and a trained SQF Practitioner. When Saro is not editing, writing, or advising new customers on what food safety goals they should pursue, she enjoys spending time with her family, baking gluten-free sourdough bread, and playing Mahjong.
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