Meat and Poultry HACCP Programs

What is HACCP?

“HACCP” is the acronym for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.  A HACCP program is a food safety system that helps processors identify and prevent and/or control the food safety hazards related to their product, process and operation.  While first used by NASA to prevent foodborne illness in the space program, it has been adopted by many in the processed food business and is required by regulation in seafood, fresh juice, and meat and poultry processing operations.

Meat and poultry HACCP

In 1996, the Pathogen Reduction: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems; Final Rule was published in 9 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), Part 304 was enacted. The text of this regulation may be found here. HACCP programs have been required by regulation for all USDA/FSIS inspected meat and poultry operations since 2001. 

Each operation must develop a HACCP program that includes:

Prerequisite programs, including standard sanitation operating procedures (SSOPs)
A hazard analysis (HA)
A HACCP program focusing on critical control points (CCPs) identified as a result of the hazard analysis
Appropriate record keeping, monitoring and corrective actions for each CCP
Regular verification and validation activities that ensure that the HACCP plan is resulting in the production and sale of a safe meat/poultry product


Training requirements

Section 417.7 of the rule describes training requirements of the regulation.  “Only an individual who has successfully completed a course of instruction in the application of the seven HACCP principles to meat or poultry product processing, including a segment on the development of a HACCP plan for a specific product and on record review can perform the following functions:

(1) Development of the HACCP plan; and

(2) Reassessment and modification of the HACCP plan”

In addition, while not required, it is preferred that the person conducting verification activities be a HACCP trained individual.

Training opportunities for Connecticut Processors

Meat and poultry HACCP courses are offered by the University of Connecticut and the University of Rhode Island twice per year, fall and spring.  To be placed on a mailing list for course announcements, please contact Diane Wright Hirsch at

In addition, courses are offered by the University of Maine and the Pennsylvania State University.  At the present time there are no on-line options for meat and poultry HACCP.  Additional courses and course providers are listed at the International HACCP Alliance website.


Resources for HACCP Program Development

USDA/FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service) HACCP information  

USDA/FSIS regional office

Philadelphia, PA (District 60)
States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Mellon Independence Center
701 Market Street, Suite 4100A
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 597-4219
Fax: (215) 597-4217
24-Hour Emergency: 1-800-637-6681, enter 6
Admin. Functions: Ms. Robin Way (215) 430-6238


Small Plant Help Desk

The Small Plant Help Desk’s toll-free number is 1-877-FSIS-HELP or 1-877-374-7435. Staff is available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

Also available by e-mail:


Small Plant Outreach

The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of USDA provides many resources for small meat and poultry plant operators in order to help plants with limited resources to comply with federal rules.

Regulatory compliance

FSIS provides information to producers and agricultural businesses to help them maintain compliance with federally defined regulations for their establishments.  Go here for information about:

Compliance guides
Conducting a recall
Enforcement actions
Food defense planning
Food Safety Assessments
Humane handling
Labeling/label approval
Listeria resources
Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) and E. coli O157:H7 resources
Salmonella resources
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Specified Risk Materials resources
New technologies
Regulatory and other education videos



The Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD) developed askFSIS so that all FSIS employees, industry, and consumers could ask questions and get current information about regulations, notices, directives, or other Agency policies. If you cannot find an answer on currently posted Q&As, you may submit a question through askFSIS. FSIS will send the answer directly to the poster.  However, FSIS may post some answers, once edited to be useful for the general audience. Those who post questions are not identified.


Email subscription service, including the Small Plant News, regulatory, enforcement and industry updates


Policy Development Division (formerly the Technical Service Center):  1-800-233-3935 (M-F, 6 am to 5 pm Central Time)


University and other resources

Connecticut USDA/FSIS Small Plant Contact/Coordinator

USDA/FSIS HACCP Contacts and Coordinators provide technical advice, assistance, resources and conduct courses/activities to support HACCP implementation in small and very small plants.  In Connecticut one person fills both roles as Contact and Coordinator, connecting plant operators with the resources they need.


Diane Wright Hirsch


International HACCP Alliance

The International HACCP Alliance was developed in 1994, to provide a standardized training program to assure safer meat and poultry products.   


Meat Science Extension at Ohio State University

This university based site provides some basic HACCP information, supporting documentation, fact sheets, models.


University of Wisconsin Center for Meat Process Validation

This research/outreach center provides

Model HACCP Plans, SSOP plans
Supporting documentation for validating critical limits
Guidance regarding monitoring critical control points and developing corrective actions