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Certification: ISO or HACCP in the food industry?

Read time: 5 minutes


HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and ISO certifications serve different purposes, but are also complementary. HACCP focuses on the sanitation of facilities, equipment and products, all of which must meet government and municipal standards. ISO is a quality control method. Both standards can be implemented either individually or simultaneously. In our opinion, HACCP certification is more of a priority for companies in the food industry.

While HACCP focuses primarily on control within the production processes, ISO is broader in nature and takes into account all of the supporting processes as well. Both systems require formal documented processes.

HACCP is built on seven key principles.

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis. Potential hazards may be biological, such as a microbe; chemical, such as mercury or a toxin; or physical, such as ground glass.
  2. Identify the critical control points (CCPs) where the elimination or prevention of any contaminates would occur.
  3. Establish critical limits for preventive measures associated with each identified CCP.
  4. Establish monitoring requirements and procedures for using the results of monitoring to adjust the process and maintain control.
  5. Establish corrective actions to be taken when monitoring indicates a deviation from an established critical limit.
  6. Establish effective record-keeping procedures that document the HACCP system.
  7. Establish procedures to verify that the HACCP system is working correctly.

HACCP has become a mandated system for processors of seafood, meat, dairy, honey, maple syrup, processed fruits and vegetables, shell eggs, and for the processed egg and poultry hatchery sectors of the food industry.

It is relatively easy to combine HACCP and ISO into one overall management system that meets both the requirements for ISO 9000 and the requirements for HACCP. In fact, ISO 22000 is a new standard that specifies the requirements for a food safety management system. ISO 22000 incorporates all the elements of HACCP and of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).