Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP)
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:
HACCP requirements, endorsed by the United Nations Codex Alimentations, 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.
IMPLEMENTATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE HACCP PLAN
The successful implementation of a HACCP plan is facilitated by commitment from top management. The next step is to establish a plan that describes the individuals responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the HACCP system. Initially, the HACCP coordinator and team are selected and trained as necessary. The team is then responsible for developing the initial plan and coordinating its implementation. Product teams can be appointed to develop HACCP plans for specific products. An important aspect in developing these teams is to assure that they have appropriate training. The workers who will be responsible for monitoring need to be adequately trained. Upon completion of the HACCP plan, operator procedures, forms and procedures for monitoring and corrective action are developed. Often it is a good idea to develop a timeline for the activities involved in the initial implementation of the HACCP plan. Implementation of the HACCP system involves the continual application of the monitoring, record-keeping, corrective action procedures and other activities as described in the HACCP plan.
Maintaining an effective HACCP system depends largely on regularly scheduled verification activities. The HACCP plan should be updated and revised as needed. An important aspect of maintaining the HACCP system is to assure that all individuals involved are properly trained so they understand their role and can effectively fulfill their responsibilities.
Examples of Common Prerequisite Programs
The production of safe food products requires that the HACCP system be built upon a solid foundation of prerequisite programs. Each segment of the food industry must provide the conditions necessary to protect food while it is under their control. This has traditionally been accomplished through the application of cGMPs. These conditions and practices are now considered to be prerequisite to the development and implementation of effective HACCP plans. Prerequisite programs provide the basic environmental and operating conditions that are necessary for the production of safe, wholesome food. Common prerequisite programs may include, but are not limited to:
The establishment should be located, constructed and maintained according to sanitary design principles. There should be linear product flow and traffic control to minimize cross-contamination from raw to cooked materials.
Each facility should assure that its suppliers have in place effective GMP and food safety programs. These may be the subject of continuing supplier guarantee and supplier HACCP system verification.
There should be written specifications for all ingredients, products, and packaging materials.
All equipment should be constructed and installed according to sanitary design principles. Preventive maintenance and calibration schedules should be established and documented.
Cleaning and Sanitation.
All procedures for cleaning and sanitation of the equipment and the facility should be written and followed. A master sanitation schedule should be in place.
All employees and other persons who enter the manufacturing plant should follow the requirements for personal hygiene.
All employees should receive documented training in personal hygiene, GMP, cleaning and sanitation procedures, personal safety, and their role in the HACCP program.
Documented procedures must be in place to assure the segregation and proper use of non-food chemicals in the plant. These include cleaning chemicals, fumigants, and pesticides or baits used in or around the plant.
Receiving, Storage and Shipping.
All raw materials and products should be stored under sanitary conditions and the proper environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity to assure their safety and wholesomeness.
Traceability and Recall.
All raw materials and products should be lot-coded and a recall system in place so that rapid and complete traces and recalls can be done when a product retrieval is necessary.
Effective pest control programs should be in place.
Other examples of prerequisite programs might include quality assurance procedures; standard operating procedures for sanitation, processes, product formulations and recipes; glass control; procedures for receiving, storage and shipping; labeling; and employee food and ingredient handling practices.
Examples of Questions to be Considered When Conducting a Hazard Analysis
The hazard analysis consists of asking a series of questions which are appropriate to the process under consideration. The purpose of the questions is to assist in identifying potential hazards.
|Examples of How the Stages of Hazard Analysis are used to Identify and Evaluate Hazards*|
|Hazard Analysis Stage||Frozen cooked beef patties produced in a manufacturing plant||Product containing eggs prepared for foodservice||Commercial frozen pre-cooked, boned chicken for further processing|
|Stage 1 Determine potential Hazard hazards associated
Identification with product
|Enteric pathogens (i.e., E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella)||Salmonella in finished product.||Staphylococcus aureus in finished product.|
|Stage 2Hazard Evaluation||Assess severity ofhealth consequencesif potential hazard is notproperly controlled.||Epidemiological evidence indicates that these pathogens cause severe health effects including death among children and elderly. Undercooked beef patties have been linked to disease from these pathogens.||Salmonellosis is a food borne infection causing a moderate to severe illness that can be caused by ingestion of only a few cells of Salmonella.||Certain strains of S. aureus produce an enterotoxin which can cause a moderate foodborne illness.|
|Determine likelihood of occurrence of potential hazard if not properly controlled.||E. coli O157:H7 is of very low probability and salmonellae is of moderate probability in raw meat.||Product is made with liquid eggs which have been associated with past outbreaks of salmonellosis. Recent problems with Salmonella serotype Enteritidis in eggs cause increased concern. Probability of Salmonella in raw eggs cannot be ruled out.
If not effectively controlled, some consumers are likely to be exposed to Salmonella from this food.
|Product may be contaminated with S. aureus due to human handling during boning of cooked chicken. Enterotoxin capable of causing illness will only occur as S. aureus multiplies to about 1,000,000/g. Operating procedures during boning and subsequent freezing prevent growth of S. aureus, thus the potential for enterotoxin formation is very low.|
|Using information above, determine if this potential hazard is to be addressed in the HACCP plan.||The HACCP team decides that enteric pathogens are hazards for this product.
Hazards must be addressed in the plan.
|HACCP team determines that if the potential hazard is not properly controlled, consumption of product is likely to result in an unacceptable health risk.
Hazard must be addressed in the plan.
|The HACCP team determines that the potential for enterotoxin formation is very low. However, it is still desirable to keep the initial number of S. aureus organisms low. Employee practices that minimize contamination, rapid carbon dioxide freezing and handling instructions have been adequate to control this potential hazard.
Potential hazard does not need to be addressed in plan.
|* For illustrative purposes only. The potential hazards identified may not be the only hazards associated with the products listed. The responses may be different for different establishments.|
Example I of a CCP Decision Tree
Important considerations when using the decision tree:
Example II of a CCP Decision Tree
Examples of Verification Activities
Examples of HACCP Records