Self-monitoring and the HACCP system are not the same thing. The concept of self-monitoring has a broader meaning that derives from the responsibility of the Food Business Operator (FBO) for food hygiene and safety and corresponds to its obligation to constantly monitor production.

Self-monitoring is mandatory for all operators involved in the food production chain at any level. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), on the other hand, is a system that allows rational and organised self-monitoring.

It is only mandatory for Operators in the post-primary sectors. The HACCP system is therefore a tool to help FBOs achieve a higher level of food safety.

There are seven basic principles for drawing up an HACCP plan:

1 Identifying any hazards to be prevented, eliminated or reduced
2 Identifying critical control points (CCPs) in phases where a risk can be prevented, eliminated or reduced
3 Establishing, for these critical control points, the critical limits that differentiate acceptable from unacceptable
4 Establishing and implementing effective surveillance procedures at critical control points
5 Establishing corrective actions if a critical point is not under control (exceeding the established critical limits)
6 Establishing the procedures to be applied regularly to verify the effective functioning of the measures adopted
7 Preparing documents and records appropriate to the size and nature of the food business

For a food business, the person responsible for the self-monitoring plan must prepare and implement the plan with active participation from management and staff, using external technical-scientific support where appropriate.
The plan must be applicable and applied to prevent the causes of non-conformities before they occur, and must provide for appropriate corrective actions to minimise risks when a non-conformity occurs despite preventive measures.
The main objective is to establish a documented system allowing the company to demonstrate that it has operated in a way that minimises risk.

We recommend studying this topic directly on the Ministry of Health website, from which this short extract is taken.

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