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HACCP Validation & Verification Explained!

When it comes to HACCP validation & verification, getting it straight in our minds, is key and not always that straightforward.

In this post I’m going to explain what HACCP validation and verification means and how they should be applied to your CCPs in your HACCP plans.  I’ve also created a free metal detection validation fact sheet, to get your copy, just click the link at the bottom.

Once you’ve carried out your HACCP study and your CCPs have been determined, the next thing you need to do, is establish how you are going to monitor your CCPs. For each CCP you’ll need to set critical limits and it’s these critical limits that need to be validated and then routinely monitored.

So what do we mean by validation and verification?

Validation is a process of determining what critical limits are required, in order to control the hazard that has been defined.

Verification is the process of checking that the critical limits that have been set, are being met on an ongoing basis.

So, to recap:

Validation is – proving that it will work.
Verification is proving that it is working every day.

Let’s go through an example for a CCP of cooking egg…HACCP Validation & Verification

The hazard would be ‘survival of salmonella in the dispatched finished product, due to ineffective heat treatment.’

To ensure thermal kill of salmonella the pasteurisation would be required, so 72°C for 15 seconds, or equivalent.  We’ll take use the time and temperature combination of 72°C for 15 seconds for this example. Therefore, the critical limit would be a minimum of 72°C for a minimum of 15 seconds.

To validate this, trials need to be conducted to show that the process can consistently produce a product that that meets the critical limits consistently.

To do this, a number of production runs would need to be assessed and the time and temperatures reached recorded.  The trials would need to be carried out at worst case, for example, with the egg at the coldest temperature that it would normally be processed.  Data loggers would need to be used to show the temperature reached and how long it was held there for.

Once this is complete, a report would need to be created, detailing all the evidence from the trials.  This report would need to link the validation information with how the product would be verified for each batch produced on an ongoing basis.  For example, the egg could be checked for temperature with a probe and when it reaches 72°C it would then need to be cooked for a further 2 minutes (this would need to be timed) to show that it has met the critical limits.

The validation is the trial work that shows that the process can achieve the critical limits. (Proving it will work.)

The verification is the ongoing monitoring of the product every day to show that the critical limits are being met. (Proving that it is working every day.)

Below are some more examples of validation and verification…

Validation

Carrying out cleaning trials to show:

  1. That the cleaning procedure reduces the contamination to the required level.
  2. What monitoring limits need to be achieved using ATP and micro swabs to validate.

Verification

Daily ATP testing to show that the clean has been carried out effectively.

Metal detector trials to show:

  1. What test piece sizes can be achieved.
  2. Where the test piece should go.

Start, hourly and end of run testing of the metal detector using the test pieces.

Carrying out cleaning trials to show:

  1. That the cleaning procedure reduces removes allergen residue.
  2. What monitoring limits need to be achieved using rapid swabs and allergen swabs to validate.

Daily allergen rapid swabs to show that the clean has been carried out effectively.

The HACCP plan the team validates (agrees) that
(this is not an exhaustive list):

  1. The scope covers all relevant information.
  2. The flow chart covers all the required process steps.
  3. The hazards at each process step have been covered.

Routine audit of the CCPs.
Routine audit of the PRPs.
HACCP review.

The best way of remembering which are verification activities, is that they are checks or monitors that happen frequently, to prove that the system is working.
VERI = VERY often!

I hope you’ve found our HACCP Validation & Verification Explained post helpful.  I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch using the comments box below.  I’m happy to answer any specific questions you have on this topic.

I’ve created a free metal detection validation fact sheet for you, which takes you through how to validate the test pieces, location of the test pieces etc. To get yours just click the button below and sign up – we’ll then send you an email to our resources page, where you’ll find the metal detection validation fact sheet and lots more cool stuff!

If you’ve found this useful, you may find our HACCP Documentation Packs useful too!
Check them out below…

10 Comments

  • John Hayes says:

    Very informative and useful for staff training, keep them coming.
    John

  • Patrick says:

    Kassy,

    Would you say that an annual reassessment of your HACCP plan including a review of the year’s data for monitoring critical limits is a form of validation?

    • Kassy Marsh says:

      Hi Pat,
      Thanks for your comment.
      In some cases yes. I would agree that you can use historical verification data sometimes – such as micro pathogen testing of finished product if you were looking to validate your cooking process produces a safe product. However, reviewing a years worth of monitoring of cooking critical limits for example, would tell you if your process was capable of meeting the temperature requirements – but it would not tell you if the critical limits themselves produced a safe product.
      Does that help? If you want to give me some more specifics about your particular CCP I would be able to give you a more detailed answer?
      Thanks
      Kassy

  • Angie says:

    Really useful article – thank you.
    I am unable to access the metal detection fact sheet through the link. Can you help?

    Thanks Angie

    • Kassy Marsh says:

      Hi Angie, You’re welcome. I’m sorry the link didn’t work, I’ve fixed it now, if you’d like to try again.
      Thanks
      Kassy

      • John Inglis says:

        Hi Kassy

        The Metal Detection link doesnt seem to be working.

        Best regards
        John

        • Kassy Marsh says:

          Hi,
          You just need to put your name and email into the box and then you’ll be given a link to the resources page, if you’re already signed up.
          If you’re not signed up, you’ll get an email with a link to our resources page on it.
          This wasn’t clear from the post, so I’ve made some adjustments so it should be a little better. Thank you for highlighting it to me!
          Take care, Kassy

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