7 Principles to Learn HACCP Requirements to Control Food Hazards in the USA

Melinda D. Teston

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has established HACCP for meat and poultry processing plants, as well. Most of these establishments were required to start using HACCP by January 1999. Very small plants had until Jan. 25, 2000. (USDA regulates meat and poultry; FDA all other foods.)

HACCP has been endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, the Codex Alimentations Commission and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. The 7 Key principles of the food hazards are discussed in the article. FDA now is considering developing regulations that would establish HACCP as the food safety standard throughout other areas of the food industry, including both domestic and imported food products.

A number of food companies in USA are already using the system in their manufacturing processes, and it is in use in other countries, including Canada.

7 Key Principles of HACCP to Control Food Hazards

  • Analyze hazards: Potential hazards associated with a food and measures to control those hazards are identified. The hazard could be biological, such as a microbe; chemical, such as a toxin; or physical, such as ground glass or metal fragments.
  • Identify critical control points: These are points in a food’s production from its raw state through processing and shipping to consumption by the consumer at which the potential hazard can be controlled or eliminated. Examples are cooking, cooling, packaging, and metal detection.
  • Establish preventive measures with critical limits for each control point: For a cooked food, for example, this might include setting the minimum cooking temperature and time required to ensure the elimination of any harmful microbes.
  • Establish procedures to monitor the critical control points: Such procedures might include determining how and by whom cooking time and temperature should be monitored.
  • Establish corrective actions: Corrective action to be taken when monitoring shows that a critical limit has not been met- for example, reprocessing or disposing of food if the minimum cooking temperature is not met.
  • Establish procedures to verify that the system is working properly: for example, testing time-and-temperature recording devices to verify that a cooking unit is working properly.
  • Establish effective record to keeping document of the HACCP system: This would include records of hazards and their control methods, the monitoring of safety requirements and action taken to correct potential problems. Each of these principles must be backed by sound scientific knowledge: for example, published microbiological studies on time and temperature factors for controlling food borne pathogens.
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