Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic approach to hazard identification, assessment of risk, and control. It is used by many facilities in the food industry to ensure that all food that is consumed is safe to eat.HACCP originated in the 1960’s, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Pillsbury Company, and the U.S. Army Laboratories collaborated together to provide safe food for upcoming space expeditions. It was decided that NASA’s engineering management requirements, Critical Control Points, would be used as a guideline for this food safety initiative. Critical Control Points (CCP) was used to test weapon and engineering system reliability and by using CCP, NASA and Pillsbury were able to hire contractors to identify and eliminate the “critical failure areas” in the food processing procedures.
After the success of NASA providing safe food for their space expeditions, Pillsbury had a recall on a product called Farina, which is a cereal used in infant food. They were finding glass pieces and remnants in the food, which caused contamination. A microbiologist at Pillsbury, Howard Baumann, who also helped in the NASA initiative, advocated for the company to adopt a HACCP plan. Because of this outbreak and Baumann’s success with HACCP, a panel discussion was held in 1971 at the National Conference on Food Protection that examined Critical Control Points and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in producing safe food. The outcome of this meeting lead to the FDA asking Pillsbury to establish and manage a training program for the inspection of canned foods for FDA inspectors. The program was first held in September 1972 for 21 days, with 11 days of classroom lecture and 10 days of canning plant evaluations. The name of this class was titled, “Food Safety through the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System”, and this was the first time HACCP was used to educate other food facilities in the industry.
Today, training for developing and implementing HACCP Food Safety management systems are offered by several food safety companies. DFA of California is an accredited HACCP trainer through the International HACCP Alliance and is qualified to perform nationally recognized HACCP training according to Codex Alimentarius. This is a benefit to the Dried Fruit & Tree Nut and Fresh Produce industry because DFA knows the ins and outs of our member’s facilities. Secondly, we currently have the resources to train and conduct HACCP verification audits on your time-table.
Since the signing of the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) in 2011, companies in the food industry have been making drastic changes in order to comply with the regulation. The proposed Produce Safety and Preventive Controls rules are expected to be finalized in 2014 with staggered dates for compliance. One of the requirements of the rules is Preventive Controls (HACCP). “HACCP is important because it prioritizes and controls potential hazards in food production. By controlling major food risks, such as microbiological, chemical and physical contaminants, the industry can better assure consumers that its products are as safe as good science and technology allows. By reducing foodborne hazards, public health protection is strengthened” (International HACCP Alliance). HACCP is a program that government agencies and food facilities have relied on for years and will be a program that continues to have an impact on food safety and in the food industry for years to come.