Why was HACCP developed
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
The HACCP concept was developed in 1959 when the American group The Pillsbury Company was commissioned by the space agency NASA to produce space-suitable food for astronauts that was supposed to be one hundred percent safe. Pillsbury applied the FMEA methodology created by the US military for technical applications in 1949 to the food industry and further developed this preventive concept together with NASA. In 1971 it was published in the USA as the HACCP concept. In 1985 the US National Academy of Sciences recommended using the concept; it was then tested and further developed worldwide. The Codex Alimentarius published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has also recommended the use of the HACCP concept since 1993.
The HACCP concept requires:
to analyze all hazards for the safety of food that exist in the area of responsibility of a company,
to determine the critical points for the safety of the food,
Define intervention limits for the critical control points,
Introduce procedures for continuous monitoring of critical points,
Determine corrective measures in the event of deviations,
to check whether the system is suitable for ensuring food safety, and
to document all measures.
HACCP in Germany
The HACCP concept was first anchored in German law with the Food Hygiene Ordinance of 1998. The EC regulation 852/2004 also provides for the application of the HACCP concept in all companies that are involved in the production, processing and sale of foodstuffs.
On January 1, 2006, the EU hygiene package adopted in 2004 came into force. It decrees that only foods that meet the HACCP guidelines may be traded and imported into the Union.
Before that, all companies that produce food or handle food in any way had to have an HACCP concept. A documented version has to be available since 2006. In large companies with many hazards and high risk potential, detailed records are required; in small companies, cleaning plans, verification certificates or personnel instructions are sufficient.
When implementing the legal requirements, it is important to start with the introduction of “Good Hygiene Practice” (GHP). These preventive measures (e.g. cleaning program, training program, pest control, incoming goods inspection, raw material policy ...) are published in so-called guidelines by many associations for the various professional groups. The company stands on this basis and the company-specific residual risk results from the success achieved. This must be determined separately for each company in accordance with the Codex requirements (see above). This may result in critical control points that have to be managed. The GHP alone is not yet a HACCP concept.
HACCP for frozen food
The first international HACCP regulation for frozen food was passed in 1978. Since then, this regulation has also been regularly revised and improved. Special attention is paid to the fact that the requirements for a deep-freeze chain are even greater than is the case with a normal cold chain. In order to take this complexity into account, the use of time-temperature indicators was specifically proposed in the latest appendix in 1996, along with various other methods.
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