Food Safety has become a worldwide concern. The devastating impacts a food-borne illness outbreak can have on not only lives, but on businesses and countries economics, have been well documented. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world fall ill as a result of food poisoning and each year food companies pay out millions of dollars in compensation and suffer immeasurable damage to their business reputations. It is now generally accepted by legislators, enforcement officers and food professionals that a formal, structured HACCP system is the most effective way of managing and controlling food safety hazards in the preparation and handling of food and food products.
Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP), enforced by such agencies as the US Department of Agriculture's Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a scientific process control system for eliminating contaminants at critical areas in the food production and distribution process.
HACCP helps to prevent, harmful contamination in the food supply. To ensure safer food, HACCP requires the following seven principles to be followed:
- Conduct a hazard analysis. Prepare a list of steps in the process where significant hazards can occur and describe the preventive measures.
- Identify critical control points (CCPs).
- Establish critical limits for CCPs
- Establish monitoring requirements. Establish procedures for using the results of monitoring to adjust the process and maintain control.
- Establish corrective actions. Actions to be taken when monitoring indicates that there is a deviation from an established critical limit.
- Establish verification procedures. Establish effective record-keeping procedures that document the HACCP system
- Establish record keeping procedures for verification purposes.
HACCP requirements, endorsed by the United Nations Codex Alimentarius, European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, apply to meat, seafood and poultry plants; grocery stores; restaurants; and other food processing and handling facilities.