By Cristina Bernal, Manager at AIB International
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic preventive approach to food safety that provides a methodology to identify, evaluate, and minimize or control hazards. The goal of a HACCP plan is to prevent, eliminate or reduce hazards to an acceptable level, therefore, food safety companies need to address, at least, three key important factors: secure a strong commitment from the management team, ensure all members of the HACCP team are familiar with the methodology, which includes 5 preliminary steps and 7 principles, and train all personnel.
But be aware that having worked in the food industry for many years does not automatically qualify you as a HACCP expert or even as a trained member of the team. As a management system that addresses food safety by evaluating and minimizing or controlling biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement, and handling, to manufacturing, and its distribution, you must know the HACCP principles and be HACCP trained to join this team.
As society evolved and powerful communication tools such as the internet and social media became available, consumers turned more demanding and unyielding when choosing products. Today, negative publicity such as recalls is widely advertised around the world, so anyone can find out about them. Hence, having a strong HACCP program in place to help you protect your business, your reputation, and the safety of your food products is essential.
In many food and beverage manufacturing and processing plants, in food packaging manufacturing and food warehouses, HACCP Principles have been successfully applied. The seven principles of HACCP have been accepted by many government agencies, trade associations, and the food industry.
The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations published by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, to ensure consumer health and fair practices in the food trade.
The Codex Alimentarius covers all foods, whether processed, semi-processed or raw. It also contains general standards covering food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, and procedures for assessing the safety of foods derived from modern biotechnology, as well as good hygiene practices (GHP) and the HACCP guidelines.
According to the AIB International Consolidated Standards for Inspection, for products that aren’t required to have a regulated food safety plan, a HACCP program based on Codex Alimentarius must be written and implemented. You can download a free copy of the Consolidated Standards for Inspection here.
HACCP around the world
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has mandated that manufacturers of meat and poultry have a written HACCP plan. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated that the seafood and juice products have a written and implemented HACCP plan.
Food businesses in Europe are legally responsible for the safety of the food they produce, transport, store, and sell. Across the European Union, feed business operators shall put in place, implement, and maintain a permanent written procedure(s) based on HACCP principles. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been working on building capacity in the implementation of HACCP in numerous countries in the eastern part of the region, including Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, and Romania, among others.
For most food businesses in Australia, having a food safety program based on the principles of HACCP is a legal requirement. Standards 3.2.1 of the Food Standards Code outlines this requirement.
The Quality Council of India has launched two certification schemes named “IndiaGHP” and “IndiaHACCP” based on the globally accepted Codex Standards for adoption by food manufacturers and supply chain operators. The goal is to demonstrate compliance with global standards without having to obtain foreign certifications related to HACCP or Good Hygiene Practices (GHP).
Having a HACCP certification is not mandatory in Nigeria, but the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is urging local food producers and exporters to participate in a voluntary HACCP certification process so their export opportunities can improve as they meet the criteria established by the European Union and other countries.
Mexico has the legislation NOM-251-SSA1-2009 that defines the minimum requirements of good hygiene practices that must be observed during the manufacturing process of food, beverages, or food supplements and their raw materials in order to avoid contamination throughout the process. Even though the legislation addresses HACCP, it establishes that “each company must take responsibility for the application of the principles of the HACCP system; however, government and companies are aware that there may be obstacles to the effective implementation of such a system by the company itself.”
You can become a member of your HACCP team by successfully completing the requirements of our HACCP Online course or you can also enroll in one of our virtual led workshops. Check the upcoming HACCP workshops here.
This article includes several references from the HACCP Principles & Applications Guidelines published by the FDA.