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HACCP is a widely used and internationally recognized science-based control system which identifies and evaluates hazards that might occur in the food production process and puts into place stringent actions to reduce hazards from occurring in food production. This system, when properly applied, focuses on preventive measures rather than end product testing. By strictly monitoring and controlling each step of the process, including microbial, chemical, and physical contaminants, the industry can ensure that its products are as safe as good science and technology allow.

The concepts for HACCP were developed in the 1960's by the Pillsbury Company in consultation with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to produce the safest and highest quality food for astronauts without needing to test a prohibitively large amount of the final product for safety.

HACCP can be applied throughout the food production chain from producer to consumer. Wherever possible, the whole food processing and distribution system should be evaluated for HACCP application. In the initial stages of developing the producer-oriented quality assurance plan, hazard analysis concepts can be adapted to husbandry practices in order to meet the overall goal of reducing risks of bacterial and chemical contamination. This will result in HACCP being integrated throughout the entire food production chain and will provide the most benefit to the consumer in terms of food safety.

HACCP involves seven principles:

  • Analyze hazards - Assesment of potential hazards and measures to control the hazards are identified
  • Determine critical control points (CCPs) - Identify the steps in food production in which point hazards can be controled
  • Establish critical limits for each control point
  • Establish procedures to monitor critical points
  • Establish corrective actions when critical limits have not been met yet
  • Establish verification procedures to confirm effectiveness of system
  • Establish record-keeping to document that HACCP system is working effectively - this might include record s of hazards and their methods, the monitoring and safety requirements, and actions taken to correct