A glossary of terms to help you understand HACCP

As in most industries or areas of work, there are a lot of terms and acronyms used in the world of food safety. This can make things appear  complicated and confusing. This is because there are many terms used which are unfamiliar and specialised and are not used in common language.

I have put together a glossary of common terms and definitions used when talking about food safety management or HACCP (see below for a definition!!) systems. Hopefully this will help to demystify food safety a little bit so it doesn’t sound like a foreign language. It might also help you when putting a FSMS or HACCP plan together or when talking to a food safety consultant.

Glossary of terms:


A method of checking a piece of equipment is working to a set standard e.g. temperature probe

Cleaning in Place (CIP)

Cleaning methods used usually for large pieces of equipment that can not be dismantled or moved

Codex Alimentarius

Set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and  the Food and Agricultural Organization to develop food safety standards and guidance

Corrective Action

What must be done if something goes wrong or when a critical control is not met

Critical Control Point (CCP)

The point at which something must be done to get rid of or reduce a food safety hazard to an acceptable level

Critical Limit

A standard that must be met to make the food safe e.g. cooking food to 75C for 30 seconds to kill harmful bacteria (usually found in legislation or guidance)

Decision Tree

Published by Codex it is a set of questions to help identify critical control points as part of the HACCP plan.

Flow Diagram

A step by step plan of the food operation from start to finish

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan

A documented food safety management system to help control hazards to produce safe food

HACCP principles

The 7 standards that must be followed to produce safe food (see my BLOG  for further explanation)

Hazard Analysis

A system that identifies hazards that are significant to a food’s safety e.g. food safety management system

Food Safety Hazard

Something related to food that can make consumers ill or harm them e.g. bacteria, glass, chemicals etc.

Food safety risk

The likelihood that something in food will harm consumers

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

Established methods used in food manufacturing to ensure food is handled safely e.g. storage of raw and cooked food


Methods of checking that the food safety controls are being followed e.g. checking fridge temperatures

Operational Pre Requisites Program (OPRP)

Methods or controls to reduce the likelihood of a food safety hazard happening but they are not critical e.g. metal detection.

Pre Requisites Program (PRP)

Procedures or standards put in place to create a safe environment for food production e.g. handwashing, pest control, premises layout and construction , cleaning


The likelihood of a food safety risk happening

Risk Assessment Matrix

Used to help evaluate potential food safety risks in terms of  probability and severity

Safer Foods Better Business (SFBB)

A standard food safety management system produced by the FSA for small businesses


How badly someone could be harmed if food is not safe e.g. stomach ache, hospitalisation, death

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

A set of step by step instructions  to help produce safe food e.g. how to use a Vac Pac machine, cleaning procedures


Using scientific proof to make sure that food safety hazards will be controlled by the  HACCP plan   e.g.  using  E-coli guidance to prevent cross contamination


Evidence that if the HACCP plan is followed then safe food will be produced e.g. temperature monitoring, internal HACCP and supplier auditing

Contact me

CONTACT ME if you need further advice or help with putting together a Food Safety Management System or HACCP plan for your product or service based business


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