Specialized Food Processes (HACCP)
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Specialized Food Processes (HACCP)

Understanding Specialized Processes & HACCP

“Specialized processing” is a method of preparing foods which have increased risk of foodborne illness. Under the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations, specialized processes require a HACCP plan. Specialized processes include things like reduced oxygen packaging (ROP), commonly referred to as cryo-vacking, as well as acidification, fermentation, and curing. HACCP is a proactive, scientifically proven food safety program. A HACCP plan is a prescriptive, comprehensive document that aims to ensure the safe receiving, handling, preparation, and holding of food to help ensure the delivery of a safe product to consumers. Since specialized processes create an increased risk of foodborne illness, it is the responsibility of operators to prove that their process methodology will result in safe food production for the end consumer.

Special ProcessVariance RequiredVariance ExceptionsHACCP Plan RequiredHACCP Plan Exceptions
Reduced Oxygen PackagingIt dependsMethods under 3-502.12 with validated processYes
Custom Processing for Personal UseYesYes
Operating Live Molluscan Shellfish TankYesYes
Curing, Drying, Smoking of FishYesSmoking for flavor enhancement, color, or part of cooking processYesSmoking for flavor enhancement, color, or part of cooking process
Curing, Smoking of Meat/PoultryYesSmoking for flavor enhancement, color, or part of cooking processYesSmoking for flavor enhancement, color, or part of cooking process
Drying of Meat/PoultryYesYes
Fermentation of SausagesYesYes
Adding Components to Extend Shelf LifeYesYes
Juice Processing and PackagingNoA performance standard of 5 log reduction requiredYesWarning label can be applied in lieu of HACCP plan

Preparing to Submit a Plan

All plan documents must be submitted electronically. Printed documentation will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Required Documents in the HACCP Plan

The following documents are required. Your application will be denied if there are missing documents.

  • Hazard analysis description/process
  • HACCP Team members/roles
  • Food flows –critical control points(CCP), critical limits and corrective actions
  • Monitoring devices and frequency, including information about continuous temperature monitoring devices
  • Equipment information (must be commercial)
  • Standard Recipes
  • Recordkeeping/location
  • Employee training procedures
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs)

Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) Tools

Completing and Submitting the HACCP Plan

It will take approximately 15 – 60 minutes to complete the plan review form, depending on the complexity of your plan.

The form must be completed in one session (it cannot be saved and returned to).

You will need:

Application for HACCP

The application fee is payable when the plan is submitted.

The fee is $400 and is payable by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or check

Payment via Credit Card or Electronic Check

If paid by credit card, there is an additional fee of $.75 plus 2.25% of the total cost.

If paid by electronic check, there is an additional fee of $1.00.

There is no fee for K-12 schools or for non-profit organizations serving populations with limited incomes (serving solely people who are food insecure).

After you have submitted the plan review form, a plan review specialist will review your plan and notify you within 14 business days to let you know if the plans were approved or if more information or changes are needed.

  • Approved: If the plans are approved, you may begin processing immediately. An operational inspection will be conducted 30 days or more to verify processes.
  • Not Approved: If the plans are not approved, you will be required to submit revised plans. Review of revised plans can take up to an additional 14 business days. Missing or incomplete information is the most common reason that plans are not approved.
  • Change: If your plans change after they have been approved, you may be required to submit revised plans and pay additional fees.


Specialized processing methods are covered under section 3-502.11 in the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations and includes processes such as curing, fermentation, custom processing, and sprouting seeds/beans.

Specialized processing methods require a variance from CDPHE and also generally require a HACCP plan. Since HACCP plans for these processes can be more complex than other plans, operators can have a hard time meeting the regulatory requirements. In these cases, a process authority is recommended to help the operator write their HACCP plan.

Process Authority Directory

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Food Safety Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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