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Critical Control Point (CCP)

By: Tabitha Mishra
| Last updated: April 22, 2022

What Does Critical Control Point (CCP) Mean?

A critical control point (CCP) is the point during the food production process where control measures are applied to prevent, reduce, or eliminate food safety hazards.

CCPs are essential components of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety plan that ensures food products are safe for consumption. Identifying the critical control points in the production process is accomplished by running through a CCP decision tree.

Safeopedia Explains Critical Control Point (CCP)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a critical control point as “a step at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level.”

Examples of CPPs include:

  • Thermal processes
  • Chilling
  • Chemical testing
  • Biological hazard detection
  • Formulation control
  • Testing product for physical hazards

All CCPs should be carefully documented to avoid health issues and the resulting lawsuits and liabilities that can arise from them.

Identifying Critical Control Points

Food safety hazards can be biological, chemical, physical, allergenic, or a combination of these.

Identifying hazards begins by gaining a clear understanding of the full production process. The movement of each ingredient from point to point should be deconstructed, and tasks that are essential for the safety of the food should be noted.

For example, critical tasks in the process of preparing chicken include storing the raw chicken at 5°C or below to slow the growth of bacteria, and cooking the chicken to a minimum of 75°C to kill any bacteria.

CCP Decision Trees

Though not a requirement for a food safety program, decision trees are a tool that can help visualize the food production process and identify potential food safety hazards within it.

A CCP decision tree includes questions such as:

  • Does the step involve a hazard of sufficient likelihood of occurrence and severity to warrant its control?
    • If yes, proceed to the next question.
    • If no, it is not a CCP.
  • Does a control measure for the hazard exist at this step?
    • If yes, proceed to the next question.
    • If no, is control at this step necessary for safety?
      • If yes, modify the step, process, or product.
      • If no, it is not a CCP.
  • Is control at this step necessary to prevent, eliminate, or reduce the risk of the hazard to consumers?
    • If yes, it is a CCP.
    • If no, it is not a CCP.

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