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HACCP

HACCP: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point: the systematic identification and management of risks associated with the manufacture, distribution and use of food ingredients.

What is HACCP?
HACCP, or the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system, is a process control system that identifies where hazards might occur in the food production process and puts into place stringent actions to take to prevent the hazards from occurring. By strictly monitoring and controlling each step of the process, there is less chance for hazards to occur.

Why is HACCP Important?
HACCP is important because it prioritizes and controls potential hazards in food production. By controlling major food risks, such as microbiological, chemical and physical contaminants, the industry can better assure consumers that its products are as safe as good science and technology allows. By reducing foodborne hazards, public health protection is strengthened.

What are the Major Food Hazards?
While many public opinion studies report that consumers are concerned primarily about chemical residues, such as from pesticides and antibiotics, these hazards are nearly non-existent. The more significant hazards facing the food industry today are microbiological contaminants, such as Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter, and Clostridium botulinum. HACCP is designed to focus on and control the most significant hazards.

Is HACCP New?
HACCP is not new. It was first used in the 1960s by the Pillsbury Company to produce the safest and highest quality food possible for astronauts in the space program. The National Academy of Sciences, National Advisory Committee for Mcirobiological Criteria for Foods, and the Codex Alimentarius have endorsed HACCP as the best process control system available today.

How Does HACCP Compare to the Current Food Production and Inspection Programs?
The current food inspection program is based on a "see, smell and touch" approach that relies more on detection of potential hazards than prevention. Furthermore, the current inspection program was designed in the 1930s when the threat of diseased animals and physical contaminants were the main concerns. Today, microbiological and chemical contamination, which cannot be seen, are of greater interest.

How Would HACCP Be Applied From Farm to Table?
For the most successful implementation of HACCP, it should be applied from farm to table -- starting on the farm and ending with the individual preparing the food, whether in a restaurant or home. On the farm, there are actions that can be taken to prevent contamination from occurring, such as monitoring feed, maintaining farm sanitation, and practicing good animal health management practices.

In the plant, contamination must be prevented during slaughter and processing. Once meat and poultry products leave the plant, there should be controls in place during transportation, storage and distribution.

In retail stores, proper sanitation, refrigeration, storage and handling practices will prevent contamination. Finally, in restaurants, food service and homes, food handlers must store, handle and cook foods properly to ensure food safety.

How Can HACCP Be Applied in Distribution and Retail?
FSIS plans to work with the Food and Drug Administration and state and local governments to begin to implement HACCP in the distribution and retail sectors. FSIS intends to work with FDA to develop federal standards for safe handling of food during transportation, distribution and storage prior to delivery to retail stores. Also, FSIS will work with FDA to provide food safety guidance to retail stores through the updated Food Code. The Food Code is a model ordinance intended to serve as a guide for state and local authorities. Following proper sanitation and handling guidelines will help ensure that further contamination and cross contamination do not occur.

How Can Consumers Use HACCP?
Consumers can implement HACCP-like practices in the home by following proper storage, handling, cooking and cleaning procedures. From the time a consumer purchases meat or poultry from the grocery store to the time they cook and serve a meal, there are many steps to take to ensure food safety. Examples include properly refrigerating meat and poultry, keeping raw meat and poultry separate form cooked and ready-to-eat foods, thoroughly cooking meat and poultry, and refrigerating and cooking leftovers to prevent bacterial growth.

Sounce: haccpalliance.org

 

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