What is a Critical Control Point and How to Identify One?


The global cloud kitchen market was valued at $43.1 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $71.4 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 12.0 % from 2021 to 2027. In addition, the rise of on-demand food delivery is becoming a key trend in the food and beverages industry. These facts make it imperative to gather data on the fly to execute even better standards as fast as possible. 

A Critical Control Point (CCP) is a point where the failure of a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) could cause harm to a consumer. This concept is not exclusive to food preparation and handling and can be applied to any form of service or product. 

However, critical control points are particularly relevant to food preparation and other subsidiary industries since food products are vulnerable to cross-contamination.

Also Read: Why Good Manufacturing Practices are Vital in the Food Industry

Identifying Critical Control Points

A Critical Control Point (CCP) is any step at which control is essential to prevent, eliminate or reduce a food safety hazard to an acceptable level. 

Thus, the identification of relevant control points is very crucial. But, on the other hand, many points could only cloud the real and more critical hazards in a system. Therefore, identifying the impactful CCP is critical. 

The following ways can help in identifying appropriate critical control points for agile response:

1. Thorough hazard analysis

An extensive hazard analysis should form the basis of identifying critical control points. In a hazard analysis, all the physical, chemical, and biological hazards that could potentially occur must be identified.  

Physical hazards could entail the contamination of the product with metals, glass splinters, bones, etc. Therefore, managers should perform a risk assessment to analyze the probability of contamination and, on the other hand, its effects.

 A successful hazard analysis should answer these questions:

  • What kinds of contamination may occur during production?
  • What is the probability of occurrence of these contaminations?
  • What are the possible consequences of these contaminations? 

2. Decision tree mapping

Using a decision tree has proven valuable for identifying critical control points. Applying the decision tree involves asking a series of questions to determine whether a process step is a CCP. 

A decision tree is a tree-like flowchart, with each internal node representing a test on an attribute, each branch representing the test’s outcome, and each leaf node (terminal node) holding a class label.

Keeping a log of the decision tree you use and the judgments you make, including justifications for answers to each of the questions, asked, will allow you to analyze and repeat the flowchart should problems arise.

3. Defining critical limits

A critical limit is the maximum or minimum value for the control measure at a CCP to prevent, eliminate, or reduce the hazard to an acceptable level. It separates the acceptable (safe) products from the unacceptable (unsafe) products. 

These critical limits should be:

  • measurable
  • observable
  • able to be monitored quickly

Also Read: How Robust Quality Management System Lead to Company Success

4. Categorizing critical control points

To facilitate identification and verification by the auditors, it is beneficial to sequentially number the CCPs (e.g., CCP #1, CCP #2). Furthermore, these can be classified according to whether the hazard is prevented (CCPp), reduced (CCPr), or eliminated (CCPe). 

To give more visibility, you may even classify the CCPs by the type of hazard that is being controlled (e.g., CCP-B for biological hazards, CCP-C for chemical hazards, and CCP-P for physical hazards). 

5. Optimum number of critical control points

There are no specific CCPs in the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. However, the identified critical control points must be appropriate for the particular food processing and handling system for any plan to be effective. 

Having too many CCPs may unnecessarily encumber and burden the implementation of the HACCP plan.

Also Reda: Incident Management KPIs You Should Be Aware Of

Accelerate Your HACCP Plan With Pulse

Pulse is a digital audit and inspection tool that seamlessly lets you manage your team and your assigned tasks. 

With Pulse, the following aspects of an audit can be performed: 

  • Use templates

The built-in templates are easy to use and get you started with your audit. You can even upload your ready template, choose from the available options on the application or build your own from scratch.

  • Schedule inspections 

Schedule daily/weekly / monthly / adhoc basis for your team in minutes and assign tasks. Your team can easily upload multiple photos and annotate them as well.

  • Share reports

Your team can share the completed reports with you or other teammates for evaluation. In addition, Pulse gives you the option to leave any of your additional insightful messages along with it. 

  • Action assignment & issue resolution

You can assign actions to relevant individuals or groups for rectification. This will facilitate resolving problems on the spot. You can prioritize the concerns as well. 

With Pulse, you can stay ahead of the curve and get a faster turnaround time by automating all the audits. In addition, you can delve deeper into the software by watching the free demo on their website.