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What is HACCP?

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  • Written By: R. Kimball
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a group of programs used to manage dangers in food and drug production. A valid HACCP plan is based upon seven principles. It is difficult or impossible to test each individual food item in the manufacturing process, so the HACCP plan itself is validated and verified to ensure safe manufacturing.

First, the company must complete a hazard analysis. The different hazards that might arise in the food preparation process must be defined, and any preventative measures to control these hazards are also identified. Hazards might include any property that can cause a food or drug to be unsafe for humans.

Next, critical control points should be designated. A critical control point is a step in the manufacturing process where a control or test may be inserted that will result in eliminating or reducing an identified safety hazard. Each critical control point must have set variance limits. These limits are set minimum and maximum levels or values within which the hazard is to be controlled.

A monitoring process for each critical control point is defined. The definition is to set the control process and activities associated with each point in order to ensure proper review throughout the manufacturing process. Some governmental agencies require that this be specifically included within the HACCP plan.

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Corrective actions for any critical control points found to be outside the variance range are established. These actions must be taken once a specific critical control point deviates from its allowed range. The purpose of defining these actions is so that no covered product that would injure a consumer’s health is released to the public. The regulations associated with HACCP require that all manufacturers maintain documentation and record-keeping procedures for the implementation, management, and correction of the manufacturing process in accordance with the plan. After developing the record-keeping procedures, the HACCP plan is validated and verified.

These plans were originally required only for certain food industries. The use of these plans and regulations has expanded into almost all food manufacturing areas and many drug manufacturing industries. Different government agencies oversee each industry’s implementation of HACCP. HACCP began in the USA; however, the concepts and processes have expanded internationally in food manufacturing. The intent has been to develop a uniform set of guidelines to ensure safe food products worldwide.

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