HACCP is a systematic procedure serving to identify microbiological, chemical and physical hazards for human health during food manufacturing and to eliminate these hazards by taking the suitable measures or reducing them to an acceptable level.
The origins of the HACCP concept date back to 1959. In this year, NASA implemented a project in co-operation with the Pillsbury Company in the US. At that time the goal was to manufacture food that could even be used in outer space because risks due to biological, chemical or physical hazards for human health could be excluded with a certainty of 100 per cent (“zero defects programme”).
After being published by FAO/WHO (Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization) and after being taken over by the European food industry and its legislation, HACCP forms the basis of all food safety systems. The most important document is the document “Basic Text on Food Hygiene”, which has the title “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System and guidelines for its application, Annex to CAC/RCP 1-1969 (Rev. Hygiene 4 - 2003)”.
The HACCP concept is a basic part of the earlier Food Hygiene Regulation and an elementary part of the current EC Hygiene Package, which has been applicable since 2006. Therefore, the HACCP concept must absolutely be implemented as a legal requirement.
The benefits that may be drawn from the HACCP audit offered by Quality Austria are the optimisation of the implemented HACCP system and proving compliance with the obligation to exercise due diligence and efficiently monitor food risks. The main value added is the fact that the industrial and commercial customers’ confidence in product safety is increased. The HACCP concept can easily be integrated in an existing quality management system.
- identifying, assessing and controlling hazards for human health
- higher product safety and lower product liability risks
- reduction of error rates
- enhancing consumer protection and confidence
Organizations throughout the food chain (e.g. agricultural producers, animal feed and food manufacturers, manufacturers of additives and auxiliary materials, subsuppliers, retailers, catering and logistic companies)
The HACCP concept is based on the 7 HACCP principles according to Codex Alimentarius:
- analyse hazards
- identify critical control points (CCP)
- establish preventive measures with critical limits for each control point
- establish procedures to monitor the critical control points
- take corrective actions when monitoring shows that a critical limit has not been met
- apply procedures to verify that the system is working properly
- use effective recordkeeping to document the HACCP system (documentation)
Before applying the principles of HACCP, five tasks will have to be fulfilled:
- establish the HACCP team,
- provide product descriptions,
- define the purpose,
- present the manufacturing process with flowcharts,
- verify these processes and conditions within the company or organization.
After these tasks have been fulfilled, there will be a hazard analysis and assessment of the inherent risks. Hazard analysis and risk assessment include the following steps: identifying hazards for human health and risks that may be connected with each phase, determining the likelihood of their occurrence and estimating their significance for the consumer’s health. It makes sense to consider the likelihood of detection prior to delivery to the customer and to incorporate it as a third factor into the evaluation.
It is advisable to consider the “likelihood of detection” as a third assessment criterion. After and during implementation of the HACCP plan, verification has to be conducted at regular intervals – at least once a year. The application of verification procedures is not only required by Principle 5 of Codex Alimentarius but also an essential requirement of various Food Safety Standards and a legal requirement acc. to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004.
With July 30, 2016 the Guideline EU 2016/C 278/01 has been published. It builds upon the „Overview Report on the State of Implementation of HACCP in the EU and Areas for Improvement“ of the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission. This new guideline not only focusses on HACCP-driven procedures, but also aims at promoting the importance of PRPs and HACCP-principles within a management system. It is supposed to be an orientation help during the actual implementation and covers flexible regulations for specific companies.
ISO 9001, Annex to CAC/RCP 1-1969 (Rev. 4 – 2003), IFS Standards, BRC Standards, ISO/TS 22002-1/-4 Prerequisite Programmes on Food Safety – Food Manufacturing/ Food Packaging Manufacturing, ISO 22000, FSSC, Guideline EU 2016/C 278/01
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