A glossary of words associated with HACCP systems.

Approved source: Acceptable to the regulatory authority based on a determination of conformity with principles, practices, and generally recognized standards that protect public health.

Biological Hazard: A biological hazard is any danger to food safety by the contamination of food with pathogenic bacteria or other naturally occurring toxins.

CCP: see Critical Control Point.

Chemical Hazard: A hazard posed to food by chemicals in the food production or processing workplace.

Cleaning: The removal of soil, food residue, dirt or grease.

Contaminant: Anything that can get into food that is not supposed to be there.

Contamination: The unintended presence in food of potentially harmful substances, including microorganisms, chemicals, and physical objects.

Control: To take all necessary actions to ensure and maintain compliance with criteria established in the HACCP Plan. The state wherein correct procedures are being followed and criteria are being met.

Control Measures: Actions and activities that can be used to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.

Control Point: Any step at which biological, chemical or physical factors can be controlled.

Corrective Actions: Actions to be taken when the results of monitoring at the CCP indicate a loss of control.

Critical Control Point (CCP): A step at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.

Critical Limit: A criterion that is measurable which separates acceptability from unacceptability.

Cross contamination: The transfer of harmful substances or disease-causing microorganisms to food by hands, food-contact surfaces, sponges, cloth towels and utensils that touch raw food, are not cleaned, and then touch ready-to-eat foods. Cross contamination can also occur when raw food touches or drips onto cooked or ready-to-eat foods.

Deviation: Failure to meet any critical limit.

Dilution: The weakening of liquids, usually by adding water. Cleaning agents are diluted from concentrates to useable strengths.

Disinfection: The reduction (by chemicals or physical methods) of the number of microorganisms in the environment, to a level safe for food preparation and consumption.

FIFO – "FIRST IN, FIRST OUT": Food should be used in the order of delivery to make sure that no product spoils or grows dangerous germs.

Food Contact Surface: Surfaces such as countertops, utensils or equipment which come into direct contact with food. These areas offer opportunities for cross-contamination if not properly cleaned and sanitized.

Food Handler: Any person who handles opened or unopened food, equipment, utensils or surfaces used for food preparation and serving.

Food Hygiene: All measures necessary to guarantee the safety of food at all stages of the food chain.

Food Safety: The degree of confidence that food will not cause sickness or harm to the consumer when it is prepared, served and eaten according to its intended use.

Food Suitability: Guarantee that food is acceptable for human intake according to its intended use.

HACCP: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points.

HACCP Plan: A document prepared in accordance with the principles of HACCP to ensure control of hazards which are significant for food safety in the segment of the food chain under consideration.

HACCP System: A system which identifies, evaluates, and controls hazards which are significant for food safety. A HACCP system includes the following seven principles:Principle 1. Conduct a hazard analysis.
Principle 2. Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs).
Principle 3. Establish critical limits.
Principle 4. Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP.
Principle 5. Establish the corrective action to be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control.
Principle 6. Establish procedures for verification to confirm that the HACCP system is working effectively.
Principle 7. Establish documentation concerning all procedures and records appropriate to these principles and their application.

Hazard: A biological, chemical or physical agent or factor with the potential to cause an adverse health effect.  

Hazard Analysis: The process of collecting and evaluating information on hazards and conditions leading to their presence to decide which are significant for food safety and therefore should be addressed in the HACCP plan.

Internal temperature: The temperature of the internal portion of a food product.

Microorganism: A form of life that can be seen only with a microscope; including bacteria, viruses, yeast, and single-celled animals.

Monitor: The act of conducting a planned sequence of observations or measurements of control parameters to assess whether a CCP is under control.

Non-conformity: A failure to meet specified requirements of the HACCP system.

Operational step: An activity in a food establishment, such as receiving, storage, preparation, cooking, etc.

Parasite: An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism and contributes to its host.

Pathogen: A microorganism (bacteria, parasites, viruses, or fungi) that is infectious and causes disease.

Personal hygiene: Individual cleanliness and habits.

Physical Hazard: Any object that can get into food during the production process and contaminate the food product.

Potentially hazardous food: A food that is natural or synthetic and that requires temperature control because it is capable of supporting growth of pathogens.


Programs: Procedures, including Good Manufacturing Practices, which address operational conditions providing the foundation for the HACCP system.

Record: A documentation of monitoring observation and verification activities.  

Regulatory authority: A federal, state, local, or tribal enforcement body or authorized representative having jurisdiction over the food establishment.

Risk: An estimate of the likely occurrence of a hazard.

SOP: Standard Operating Procedure.  

Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP): Specific food handling and sanitation practices such as proper thawing methods, prevetntion of cross contamination and certain aspects of employee and environmental hygiene. These and other types of practices are more difficult to measure, monitor adn document, which is why they are considered SSOPs rather than CCPs.

Standard operating procedure (SOP): A written method of controlling a practice in accordance with predetermined specifications to obtain a desired outcome.

Step: A point, procedure, operation or stage in the food chain including raw materials, from primary production to final consumption.

Temperature measuring device: A thermometer, thermocouple, thermistor, or other device for measuring the temperature of food, air, or water. Standards require that the device be accurate to 1 degree Celsius.

Thermal Processing: All heat processes are thermal processes, but the term "thermal processing" is given to specific processes like canning and bottling or sealing in other containers, like pouches.  

Toxin: A poisonous substance that may be found in food.

Validation: Gathering proof that the elements of a HACCP plan are effective.

Verification: The application of methods, procedures, and tests, in addition to those used in monitoring to determine compliance with the HACCP plan, and/or whether the HACCP plan needs modification. 

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