Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is an international food safety system that deals with the control of factors affecting the ingredients, product and processing of food. It is widely recognized by scientific authorities and international organizations as the most effective approach available for producing safe food. The goal of HACCP is to identify biological, chemical and physical hazards and to include preventive measures throughout the process which would stop these hazards before they begin. These measures would, in turn, prevent unsafe food from reaching the consumer. In the United States, meat and poultry are inspected are regulated under HACCP by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). HACCP regulations ultimately make industry responsible for food safety.
The History of HACCP
Many variations of HACCP have been in use for more than 50 years. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) first developed the HACCP concept to provide assurance of the highest quality available for components of space vehicles.
1960's - HACCP system used to assure 100% safety of the food to be used in space.
1985 - Worldwide use of HACCP and endorsement by the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission.
1994 - The meat and poultry industry petitioned the USDA to require mandatory HACCP programs in all meat and poultry plants due to the industrys success with its use.
1998 - The HACCP program implemented in the nations processing plants with a January 2000 deadline.
Food Safety and the Seven Principles of HACCP
The theory of food safety is based on the desire to keep food safe from contamination of any kind. Microbial contamination is especially important because bacteria that reach the food supply are of public health significance. This is where HACCP is the most important. The principles of HACCP applies to all phases of food production, including basic agriculture, food preparation and handling, food processing, food service, distribution systems and consumer handling and use. The seven principles of HACCP are:1. Conduct a hazard analysis.
Microbial and Foreign Material Contamination
Cross contamination can be from many sources such as animal feces in the slaughterhouse or dairy farm and even from human feces off the hands of workers not practicing good sanitation methods. Methods of control against contamination include good personal hygiene and sanitation practices, thorough cooking and proper refrigeration of food. Information concerning these preventive measures can be obtained by referencing the contents of the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) Current Good Manufacturing Processes (CGMPs) which are in place to prevent adulteration of food produced for human consumption.
Major food borne illnesses of concern discussed under HACCP plans are:
2. Salmonella spp. (particularly S. typhimurium DT 104 which is antibiotic resistant)
3. Clostridium spp.