What is a HACCP Plan and Food Handler’s (HACCP Certification) in 2022?

What is a HACCP Plan?

Food safety is always evolving and becoming more complex, as companies require constant updating with safety regulations and industry trends. Before discussing what a HACCP Plan is, let’s talk about the importance of Food Safety Training. According to Health Canada, an average of four million cases of foodborne illness occur every year, over 11,000 Canadians are hospitalized, and more than 200 people die. Food safety incidents are serious and should not be taken lightly. The solution to reducing and preventing such negative consequences is proper food safety training. HACCP Certification and Food Handler’s certification are two methods to ensure food safety procedures are put into place.

What is the Importance of your HACCP Plan?

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points is a system that establishes safety guidelines in all stages of food production and processing. HACCP Plan Certification analyzes and manages physical, chemical, and biological hazards in food production and handling, all the way up to distribution and consumption of the food products.

There are 7 principles of HACCP Plan certification that ensure food products are consumed as safely as possible.

To be reputable and trustworthy, this certification is expected in any organization that is involved in the food production business. In countries like Canada and the USA, HACCP Plan Certification is mandatory and annually audited. Overall, this prevents risks that can lead to severe financial, legal, and health consequences.

What is the Importance of the Food Handler’s Certification?

For many of us, food handling practices are considered common sense, as they are such a frequent occurrence in everyday life. However, “common sense” is not on par with the level of professionalism required to serve food products to the public.

Food Handler's Certification

The majority of food-borne illnesses are caused by food-handling mistakes, improper food preparation, mishandling equipment, and poor personal hygiene. A Food Handler’s Certificate ensures front line workers must:

  • Understand how food becomes contaminated
  • Understand causes of food-borne illness
  • Know how to store, prepare, cook, and serve food
  • Know how to clean equipment, supplies, and surroundings

Obtaining a Food Handler’s certificate ensures the knowledge and skills are acquired to handle food safely at a higher standard. There are also numerous benefits that a Food Hander’s certificate can serve:

  • Protect the business reputation
  • Prevent customer complaints and media scrutiny
  • Reduce unnecessary operational costs such as pest control and food wastage

Avoid legal fines or business closures.

Why is Food Safety Training Essential?

The HACCP Plan and the Food Handler’s Certificate are important in today’s food industry, as consumers demand higher quality, and government agencies are critical in food safety measures. Food safety training is essential as it is mandatory in many countries. Legal and financial penalties can occur if companies and workers fail to obtain training.  Quality Smart Solutions delivers high-end training and consultation to help your business grow and comply with industry safety standards. To find out more on our services, do not hesitate to contact us.

How We Can Help

Our Experts at Quality Smart Solutions also offer to support your needs for foods, cosmetics, OTC drugs and medical devices for North America.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your compliance needs during and after licensing!

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The 12 Steps & 7 Principles of HACCP License (Plan) Development in 2022

The purpose of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan is to identify and control any hazards that may arise during the process of manufacturing, storing, distributing, and consuming food products. HACCP plans are meant to reduce, eliminate, and avoid risks that may negatively impact the consumer and the organization. They will vary based on the product, process and other factors that can occur in the facility. Developing a HACCP plan consists of 12 tasks with seven principles, which are further explained below.

1. Establish a HACCP Team

The HACCP team consists of individuals possessing a wide range of disciplines and knowledge to contribute to the process of food safety. A typical team includes:

  • Team Leader: orchestrates and organizes the planning process; identifies the scope and specific problem(s) of the plan.
  • Specialist(s): provide consultation and formulation of the plan through their expertise and knowledge.
  • Front Line Staff: includes farmers, distributors, processors, etc.; have in-depth perspective on creating the food product.
  • Stakeholders: e.g. consumers, board of directors, departments, etc.

2. Describe the Product

A full description of the final product should have the following elements in order for the HACCP team to identify hazards in creating the product:

  • Ingredients, and their characteristics;
  • Formulation (aka “recipe”) of the product;
  • Process of packaging, storing, and transporting;
  • Shelf life.

3. Purpose of the Product

The team determines the main intent of how the product will be used. Will it be cooked, eaten directly, or require further processing? The team needs to identify its intended consumers and determine any vulnerabilities when using the product.  Lastly, the team should consider the effects of misuse or abuse of the product to the general population.

4. Process Flow Diagram

A process flow diagram gives the HACCP team a broader view on the manufacturing process of the product. The diagram can also consist of a schematic of the facility, lending an easier understanding of the steps of each process.

5. On Site Confirmation of Flow Diagram

The HACCP performs a review of the operating/manufacturing process to determine the quality of the flow diagram. Multiple reviews can be done and compared to iron out deficiencies in the process.  The site for which the HACCP plan is being designed should be visited as many times as possible to make sure all relevant information is collected.

6. Identify and analyze hazards (Principle # 1)

While identifying potential hazards, the HACCP team must do some background research on the following:

  • Ingredients and materials used in the product
  • Activities performed in each step of the manufacturing process
  • Method of storage and distribution
  • Use/consumption of product

During analysis, the HACCP evaluates the product’s effects on human, environmental, and organizational interaction.

Control measures are considered once hazards are identified and analyzed during the manufacturing process. At times, organizations may have to hire external food safety consultants to offer different perspectives.

7. Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs) (Principle # 2)

A critical control point is a step in the process flow diagram that involves reducing, eliminating, and preventing food safety hazards. If CCPs are not in place, the production will stop and cannot continue further.

8. Establish Critical Limits for each CCP (Principle # 3)

A critical limit measures the maximum/minimum value of certain factors that have impact on reducing, preventing, and eliminating food safety hazards. Factors such as temperature, time, moisture level, and visual appearance are considered.

9. Establish a Monitoring Procedure (Principle # 4)

A general monitoring procedure consists of:

  • Ensuring critical limits of each CCP are being met;
  • Detecting any inefficiencies of the control measures;
  • Corrective actions need to be taken as quickly as possible to avoid and minimize loss of the product;
  • Observing or measuring samples using a statistically-based sampling plan;
  • Common measurements taken are time, temperature, moisture, and content.

10. Establish Corrective Actions (Principle # 5)

Corrective actions must be taken immediately if critical limits are not being met. Management and employees should be trained on how to perform and respond appropriately.

11. Verify the HACCP Plan (Principle # 6)

Once the plan is drafted and CCPs have been validated, the HACCP plan can then be verified. The team must evaluate if CCPs and control measures are effective. Internal auditing may be required to demonstrate ongoing commitment to complying and updating the HACCP plan. Asking questions, observing operational procedures, and collecting samples are just some of the ways to verify the plan.

12. Keep Records (Principle # 7)

Record keeping is an essential step of the HACCP plan due to the following:

  • Offers traceability and transparency
  • Ensures due diligence
  • Provides record of complaints with critical limits set
  • Identifies potential problems

Record keeping can be carried out in a number of ways, such as checklists or control charts. Manual and computer records are acceptable, but the documentation method should be designed such that it is appropriate for the size and nature of the organization.

If you or your company is seeking assistance in implementing a HACCP plan we’re ready to serve you.  Quality Smart Solutions has a team of experts who can implement a HACCP plan, coach and train your staff. Get prepared now and contact us today to discuss how we can be your solution!

Quality Smart Solutions is an end-to-end compliance solutions expert which has been assisting clients for 14 years in the areas of compliance and quality assurance for Dietary Supplements/NHPs, Foods, Cosmetics, Canna, Medical Devices, OTC drugs in Canada and the United States. Ask us for details or visit our website at

How We Can Help

Our Experts at Quality Smart Solutions also offer to support your needs for foods, cosmetics, OTC drugs and medical devices for North America.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your compliance needs during and after licensing!

30 Minutes Free Consultation

Health Canada expedites access to COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory test kits and other medical devices

Recently in Canada, the Minister of Health has signed an Interim Order to allow expedited access to COVID-19-related medical devices for use by healthcare providers, including diagnostic test kits. This Interim Order will help ensure quicker and more flexible approval of the importation and sale of medical devices that are necessary for Canada’s response to COVID-19.

Nucleic acid amplification testing is the diagnostic technology used by public health laboratories across Canada and around the world for diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. As such, diagnostic tests using nucleic acid technology are being prioritized for review to increase the number of tests available in Canada to detect active infections of COVID-19. 

Devices using serological technology are also being accepted for review. However, this type of testing is not currently recommended by the World Health Organization as it do not detect the virus itself. Instead, they detect the antibodies produced in response to an infection which can delay the detecting from days to weeks.

The expedited authorization pathways under the Interim Order

  • new COVID-19-medical devices that are not yet licensed in Canada or other jurisdictions,
  • existing COVID-19-medical devices licensed in Canada expanding its indication for use to include COVID-19-related uses
  • existing COVID-19 medical devices that has obtained authorization from a trusted foreign regulatory authority

Expedited Review Process

  • Manufacturers are required to submit an abbreviated application to support the safety, effectiveness and quality of their medical device. 
  • The fees associated with an application are waived. 
  • Manufacturers applying through this pathway will not be required to hold a Medical Device Single Audit Programme (MDSAP) certification. 

Reporting Requirements

Manufacturers will still be required to follow strict post-market safety requirements such as mandatory problem reporting, recall procedures and complaint handling.

As with all drugs and medical devices, Health Canada will continue to assess and monitor the safety and effectiveness of all products authorized under the Interim Order, and will take immediate action if required to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

If you or your company is looking to market your COVID-19-related medical devices in Canada, now is the time act. Quality Smart Solutions has a team of experts who can provide product licensing, label compliance, and import solutions for you. Get prepared now and contact us today to discuss how we can be your solution!

Quality Smart Solutions is an end-to-end compliance solutions expert which has been assisting over 500 clients worlwide for 14 years in the areas of Dietary Supplements/NHPs, Foods, Cosmetics, Medical Devices, OTC products in Canada and the United States. Ask us for details or visit our website at

How We Can Help

At Quality Smart Solutions, we provide you with the guidance to plan your Veterinary Health Products business, navigate the legal requirements, and acquire the appropriate license for your operations.

Quality Smart Solutions has a team of professionals to offer support from day one of starting your business, including formulation and label reviews, Veterinary Health Product notifications and more.

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