HACCP principlesThe starting point in developing a food safety assurance system is an accurate and detailed description of the product and the entire manufacturing process, including the selection of animals, raw materials and ingredients, their conversion to a finished product, storage and transport to the user or consumer. Based on this knowledge, and relevant Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Good Hygienic Practice (GHP) information, the principles of HACCP, which are set out in Codex Alimentarius, can be applied. These include (the 7 principles of HACCP) :
- Conducting a hazard analysis to identify realistic hazards
- Determining the critical control points (CCPs)
- Establishing critical limits for each hazard
- Establishing a system to monitor control of each CCP
- Establishing the corrective action to be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control
- Establishing procedures for verifying that the HACCP system is working effectively
- Establishing documentation concerning all procedures and records appropriate to the principles and their application
The control and monitoring methods suggested by the HACCP study should be “tailor-made” for the process while product information and consumer awareness should be included in the HACCP study output as these are key elements of risk communications between suppliers, manufacturers, consumers and other interested parties.
Stages in the application of HACCP for the food industry
Identification of hazards: Micro-organisms, toxins, residues etc
Risk analysis: Ranking risks according to their severity and frequency
Identification and classification of CCP*: Where control must be exercised, the degree of control (CCP1 and
Selection of control options: Effectiveness
Setting of critical limits: A criterion, which must be met
Selection of monitoring options: Utility, reliability, accuracy
Exercise control: Implement quality assurance
CCP 1= a location, practice, process or procedure where control is possible in order to prevent hazardous situations
CCP2= possible hazards can be minimised but not totally controlled
The implementation of quality assurance systems, including HACCP, can only effectively be done, when the production already is performed under codes for Good Hygienic Practice (GHP) or Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
Governments and industry in almost all producing countries have agreed on reduction of pathogens in products of animal origin and especially in poultry meat, eggs and egg products. These pathogen reduction plans include implementation of specific HACCP plans, standard operation procedures (SOP's) for sanitation and testing programmes for major pathogens.
The HACCP program cannot be fully integrated at farm level, but the following steps (stages) do apply:
- Define the terms of reference (simple) and
- form a team of experts that can develop the plan e.g. with help of veterinarian, feed experts etc..
Describe the process or production system so one can define hazards later. Make a flow diagram of the above mentioned process or production system and verify on site. Visualize the production column, including risks. Breeder, Layer, Broiler, Turkey, Feed, environment etc.
Identify CCP’s in production column or at farm (limited number, most are CP’s)
List all possible hazards associated with each previously defined step and list measures to control every single hazard. Choose a hazard (Avian Influenza, Salmonella etc.) associated with animal health, welfare or food safety.
Establishing target levels e.g. for microbiological hazards such as Salmonella in eggs of broilers cannot be defined as a CCP (Critical Control Point) and tolerance for hazard cannot be defined easily; concerning pathogens a zero tolerance would be the only one. At farms there are not many or no quantifiable risk factors for diseases that can be controlled. Alternatively defining of Critical Points (CP’s) could be of help since there are many on a farm, which cannot to be controlled or for which defining critical limits is not possible. Identify and define easily achievable and manageable requirements for farm conditions. Make sure the farmer can understand and apply what has to be done. Avoid too much paperwork for the farmer.
So the conclusion HACCP as such does not fully apply at farm level, but Good Farming Practice (GFP), Good Health Practice (GHP), Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) or Good Management Practice (GMP)seem to be a good alternative in order to control hygienic conditions at the farm.