HACCP addresses food safety as part of a Food Safety Management System through analysis of the chemical, biological and related physical hazards, with regards to the production, collection, handling, distribution and usage of the finished food products. It also entails control measures for the same.
The systematic approach aims to prevent hazards in production, manufacturing, distribution and packaging of food products, which could lead to unsafe end-products, and thus health and safety risks for the consumer. HACCP is thus focussed on the prevention before, rather than control after the finished product is made available. The approach is followed throughout the entire food production and distribution chain.
HACCP is the internationally recognised method for operation to improve the overall safety profile of food and beverages, reduce safety risks and eliminate safety hazards. The system is compulsory in many European countries and compliance with its requirements is thus beneficial to food produce suppliers wishing to trade with suppliers or distributors in other countries. It is applicable to all the stages in the food and beverage production and preparation chain, and thus relevant to any sized organisation who wants to ensure credibility of their operations and products.
Benefits of Compliance
Companies demonstrate their commitment to the delivering of safe produce to suppliers and customers through compliance. HACCP compliance helps to build credibility and trust with stakeholders, since it shows a commitment to meeting legislative and standard requirements.
In addition, companies gain a competitive advantage, since suppliers and stakeholders will rather want to trade with a company that has effective control measures in place to eliminate food safety hazards, than opt for a competitor without proof of their food safety control management measures according to an internationally recognised system’s requirements. Compliance furthermore helps firms to improve their efficiency and HACCP is the ideal system to complement existing compliance to ISO 9000 standards.
History of HACCP
The system developed as a result of production monitoring during WWII, since many of the weapons didn’t operate according to expectations. The approach came into being in the sixties, when NASA required the manufacturing of foods for their initial space explorations. The approach is well recognised internationally as the best tool for scientific-based food production, preparation and supply safety systems. HACCP is solidly anchored in risk assessments, to ensure effective resource allocation and food production auditing. The system is now widely applied to industries other than food, including that of cosmetics. The idea behind HACCP is to identify unsafe practices and probable hazards, to ensure optimal safety everywhere in the food chain.
The main principles of the system are that of:
- Hazard analysis.
- Critical control point identification.
- Critical limit setting.
- System establishment for monitoring the critical control points.
- Determining and implementing corrective action measures.
- Setting of verification procedures for confirmation of the efficiency of HACCP.
- Documenting and procedures for documenting and keeping of records.
Companies often have to redesign their operations to ensure compliance. However, flexibility is essential to ensure company-wide implementation. Contact us at WWISE for training on HACCP, assessments, auditing, implementation and maintenance assistance to ensure compliance.