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What is HACCP?
HACCP stands for ' Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points'.
An analysis of critical points where extra care must be given. HACCP is checked throughout the production process for potential food safety hazards. These hazards are identified and registered in HACCP and the associated risks are managed.
In this case a hazard is a danger that might occur in a product and thus could be a threat to the health of consumers. These include:
- microbiological hazards (eg bacteria, viruses, fungi and prions)
- chemical hazards (eg toxins produced by fungi, environmental contaminants and pesticides)
- physical hazards (eg glass and sharp metal or wooden parts)
These hazards can be present in raw materials or could occur during preparation, handling, packaging and transporting of food.
There must be a systematic analysis of estimated risk. This is a combination of the probability that a hazard actually occurs in the final product and the impact of it on the health of consumers. It is therefore important to take into account frequency and severity of the hazard (risk = probability x impact).
Critical Control Point One must now examine how these hazards can be avoided or kept to an acceptable level could be reduced. This control is obtained by identifying specific points in the treatment process, where that particular hazard can be controlled.
By setting specific limits at critical control points (CCPs) and by systematically monitoring them, an assurance of food-safety will be obtained. Examples of monitoring issues are parameters of time, temperature, moisture, pH, Aw, and available chlorine but are also sensory attributes like appearance and texture.
So, HACCP is a preventive system.
By tracing the health risks in preparation and handling processes and then making them manageable, the safety level of a product is increased. Source: VWA (Dutch Food and Consumer Producst Authority)
HACCP is not a tangible guide with rules, but a system that is based on seven principles. These principles are applied in order to ensure food safety. Companies need to focus this system on their own situation.They thereby indicate themselves where and at what stage of the production and distribution process threats to consumer health could occur. In addition, they have to determine what measures are taken to prevent threats to the health of consumers, which scans will be run and how to monitor the results.
In short: HACCP is a preventive system that structurally guards the behavior of the entrepreneur.