Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a prevention-based food safety system. It provides a systematic method for analyzing food processes, determining the possible hazards and designating the critical control points necessary to prevent unsafe food from reaching the consumer.
HACCP is built around seven principles:
- Analysis of food hazards: biological, chemical or physical
- Identification of critical control points: raw materials, storage, processing, distribution and consumption
- Establishment of critical control limits and preventive measures: for example, minimum cooking temperature and time.
- Monitoring of these critical control points
- Establishment of corrective actions
- Keeping records
- Systematic and regular auditing of the system in place by independent third party certification bodies.
Benefits of Implementing HACCP
In addition to meeting the legal and moral obligation to produce food that is safe to eat, HACCP offers a variety of other benefits for not only the consumer, but for the food industry and the government. The following are examples of benefits that may be gained by implementing a HACCP program.
HACCP can be applied throughout the food chain from the primary producer to final consumer.
HACCP reduces the need for finished product testing by identifying the hazards associated with the inputs into the process and the product and devising control measures which can be monitored in order to minimize or eliminate the hazards.
A HACCP program, when properly designed and implemented, will significantly reduce the chance of microbiological, chemical, and physical contaminants from reaching the customer.
HACCP can reduce regulatory involvement (and hence costs) by replacing on-line inspection with regular auditing.
HACCP principles can be applied to other aspects of food quality and regulatory requirements.
Since HACCP increases one’s ability to detect poor quality product during production, such product can be held before further value is added. Resources are saved and faulty product is not produced. Productivity and profitability is improved.
HACCP improves communications between supplier and customer. It encourages businesses to work together more closely and to help them understand each other’s capacity and requirements.
HACCP is capable of accommodating changes such as advances in raw materials, equipment and premise design, procedures, and technological developments.
Communication between the different segments of the food chain improves as HACCP provides a common language and a common focus on quality.
Improved customer confidence leads to increased market share.