HACCP defined. HACCP stands for “Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.” A HACCP Plan includes a series of procedures to control the process and sensitive points in the food chain, with the ultimate goal of producing consumer foods that are safe for consumers’ health. Developed in the 1960s by Pillsbury Company, the US Army Laboratories and NASA, HACCP is now a recognized international standard for safe food production. It is endorsed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and in the United States by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF). (2) The essentials of HACCP Planning. Food processors across the country are addressing the ramifications of the 2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) that requires them to be registered with the FDA and routinely inspected for compliance with food safety practices. As part of the FSMA, the FDA released a proposed rule on preventive controls for human food that focuses on preventing problems that can cause foodborne illnesses. The rule has two major features: 1) new provisions requiring Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and 2) proposed revisions of Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements under 21 CFR Part 110. The HACCP food safety management system requires food processors to have a written safety plan or a “HACCP Plan” which begins by conducting a Hazard Analysis that identifies “Critical Control Points” or CCPs — those points, steps or procedures in food manufacturing process at which control can be applied and as a result, a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level. Once CCPs are identified, food processors can then establish critical limits for each CCP, then continually monitor, take corrective actions where necessary, then validate and document that safe procedures are being followed. (1) Understanding the seven HACCP principles. Developing a proper HACCP Plan follows the seven principles as outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA: (3) Principle 1: Conduct a Hazard Analysis. • Plants determine the food safety hazards and identify the preventive measures the plant can apply to control these hazards. Principle 2: Identify Critical Control Points. • A critical control point (CCP) is a point, step, or procedure in a food process at which control can be applied and, as a result, a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to an acceptable level. A food safety hazard is any biological, chemical, or physical property that may cause a food to be unsafe for human consumption. Principle 3: Establish Critical Limits for each Critical Control Point. • A critical limit is the maximum or minimum value to which a physical, biological, or chemical hazard must be controlled at a critical control point to prevent, eliminate, or reduce to an acceptable level. Principle 4: Establish Critical Control Point Monitoring Requirements. • Monitoring activities are necessary to ensure that the process is under control at each critical control point. FSIS (USDA Food Safety Inspection Service) is requiring that each monitoring procedure and its frequency be 2 listed in the HACCP Plan.
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