What are (HACCP & PCP) Requirements for GFSI Certification?

What are (HACCP & PCP) Requirements for GFSI Certification?

HACCP, PCP, GMP, GFSI Certification

Since the publishing of the Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations in 2017, there is now a requirement for a Preventative Control Plan (PCP) for your food facility or food program. This blog aims to explain several different programs and certifications that a food facility may want to consider for your sites or products.

HACCP, PCP, or GFSI are GMP-related programs (Training) that can be used in your food processing or storage facility that will help to ensure high-quality and safe products are being made. Having programs like these in place can help protect your company from a food safety incident or issue.

Hazard Analysis Control Point (HACCP)

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a program designed for the evaluation and oversight of biological, chemical, and physical hazards, throughout (from start to finish) the production and life cycle of your product. From the raw material to final human/consumer consumption. HACCP plans are tailored to the product and processes of the facility to ensure a high level of food safety for consumers. HACCP plans are broken into seven principles:

  1. Conduct a Hazard Analysis
  2. Identify Critical Control Points
  3. Establish Critical Limits
  4. Monitor Critical Control Points
  5. Establish Corrective Actions
  6. Establish Record Keeping Procedures
  7. Establish Verification Procedures

Auditing and review of the Food Safety Plan (HACCP) are keys to ensuring it is running properly and producing a safe and high-quality product. If your processes change, it will likely require a change to your HACCP plan as well.

What are the basics of HACCP plans in Canada?

HACCP plans in Canada are designed to identify potential hazards in the food production process and implement controls to prevent or reduce the risk of those hazards. This includes identifying critical control points (CCPs) where hazards can be controlled, establishing monitoring procedures, and implementing necessary corrective actions. The goal is to ensure that food is safe for consumption and meets regulatory requirements. HACCP plans must be developed and implemented by trained personnel and regularly reviewed and updated to ensure ongoing compliance.

How to create a HACCP Plan?

Creating a HACCP plan involves several steps, including conducting a hazard analysis, identifying critical control points, establishing monitoring procedures, implementing corrective actions, and maintaining records. It is essential to involve all relevant personnel in developing and implementing the plan and to review and update it to ensure ongoing compliance. Training in HACCP principles and practices is also essential for those involved in developing and implementing the plan.

How do you implement a HACCP plan?

Once your HACCP plan has been developed, it is crucial to implement it effectively. This involves ensuring that all relevant personnel are trained in the principles and practices of HACCP and that they understand their roles and responsibilities in implementing the plan. It also involves establishing monitoring procedures to ensure that critical control points are monitored effectively and that corrective actions are taken when necessary. Regularly reviewing and updating the plan is also essential to ensure ongoing compliance and effectiveness.

How to conduct internal HACCP audits?

Conducting internal HACCP audits is an integral part of maintaining HACCP certification. These audits help identify potential issues or areas for improvement in your HACCP plan and ensure ongoing compliance. To conduct an internal audit, review your HACCP plan and identify the critical control points. Then, observe the processes and procedures at each critical control point to ensure they are followed correctly. Document any findings and make recommendations for improvement as necessary. It is recommended to conduct internal audits at least once a year or more frequently if any significant changes to your HACCP plan or processes exist.

How do I apply for HACCP Canada certification?

Applying for HACCP Canada certification can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is determining which certification body you want to work with. Once you have selected a certification body, you will need to complete an application and provide documentation to demonstrate that your food safety management system meets the requirements of the HACCP standard. This may include a HACCP plan, records of training and education, and evidence of ongoing monitoring and verification activities. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you must undergo an on-site audit to verify that your system complies with the standard. If you pass the audit, you will be awarded HACCP Canada certification.

Preventive Control Plan (PCP)

The Preventative Control Plan (PCP) is like a HACCP Program as mentioned above. But with a greater focus on documentation and traceability. This is aimed at controlling and addressing any risk to food and food animals. This would explain how hazards to your products are identified, prevented, and eliminated to a level deemed acceptable. The main principles of PCP are:

  1. Explain biological, chemical, and physical hazards associated with the product/food.
  2. Document how you will handle each hazard identified.
  3. Provide plan information for development.
  4. Show how the plan is used and implemented.

Need help with your HACCP, PCP, or GFSI GMP-Related Programs?

This type of plan is required within and to meet the Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations and is required to hold a Food Import license. Health Canada has published several helpful guidance documents and policies to help you determine if you need a PCP plan and how to start creating it.  

GFSI Certification

The Global Food Safety Initiative Certification (GFSI) is a trusted process for confirming high standards in food safety. The concept is aiming to allow a holder to access multiple markets with this approval. You are required to undergo an audit by a certifying company of your internal practices, policies, and facility to obtain this type of certification.

In summary, a HACCP program will usually incorporate all elements of the PCP program, and you would use this plan in daily activities. This plan would be reviewed when applying for any certifications such as GFSI. Please reach out to our team of specialists to discuss a Food Safety Program that may suit your products or facilities.

Working with regulatory consultants such as Quality Smart Solutions and Quality Import Solutions will help bring your products into Canada in a safe and compliant manner. We hold a Safe Foods for Canadians Import License (SFCR) which allows us to provide quality sites for our clients. Please reach out to our team of specialists for all your food regulatory needs!


  1. https://www.fda.gov/food/guidance-regulation-food-and-dietary-supplements/hazard-analysis-critical-control-point-haccp
  2. https://inspection.canada.ca/preventive-controls/preventive-control-plans/eng/1512152894577/1512152952810
  3. https://mygfsi.com/how-to-implement/certification/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=home-shortcut
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