Historically, in the decade of 1960 the first enterprise who applied the HACCP system in collaboration with NASA and American Army was Pillsbury to produce safe foods which are intended for space flights. Until to the beginning of 1980 many enterprises had adopted the approach of HACCP, while in 1985 the American Academy of Sciences of the United States (NAS) suggested to the food companies to install HACCP system owing to the fact that it will help them to certificate the safety of their products. Also, in 1993 the European Union published a guidance which adviced the food manufacturers to the implementation of HACCP system. Nowdays, the application of HACCP system is obligatory for the enterprises which are producing food commodities. Moreover, HACCP is a world wide acceptance method as a effective method to prevent the safety of the food. HACCP system submits in continuous controls, improvements and changes according to the new technological and scientific developments but also from the practical experiences from the usage of that technique.
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When we mentioned to term of HACCP we mean the Hazard Analysis and Critical Point System. HACCP is a method that we use to provide safe food to the consumers. It is based on, to prevent the appearance of likely hazards at any phase of food production from the growing stage to the consumer and also for the convenient confrontation of those dangers.
2.2 How does HACCP helps
HACCP helps food manufactures to make right decisions for food safety .For instance, to put the best knowledge employee to the proper place of food production to the fact that is the only person that the can ensures the appropriateness of the food. Also, because HACCP is a required system for all food companies, it can be passed on the suppliers to ensure that the raw materials which are provide for them, are appropriate with reference to the health and hygiene standards. Furthermore, I am inclined to believe that HACCP constitutes one of the most proper technique to produce safe food on the grounds that the main purpose of this method is to minimize the risk of generating products which are improper for the consumers.
2.3 Advantages and disadvantages of HACCP
To my way of thinking, the greatest advantage of the implementation of HACCP system in a food industry is that gives confidence to the costumers that the product which are going to consume is safe for them. Also, for the enterprise is beneficial on the grounds that helps to make a good reputation and it is an important tool for the food market .A further advantage of HACCP, is that the priority of the system is to prevent the dangers which are probably appear in the manufacturing rather waiting problems to occur and then how to solve these problems. Another advantage is that we can achieve the reduction of the production cost because we will not have any defective products. This happens due to the fact that HACCP system is applied in each stage of the production process. Lastly, it will increase the antagonism between the enterprises which are producing similar products but they do not apply HACCP system. The result it will be benign for the consumers because the companies will produce foods which are not hazardous for the public health.
On the other hand, the main disadvantage is the total cost of the installation of HACCP system. The owners of food companies should spend huge amounts of money to implement the system so many times they prefer not to install and put on danger the consumers health. Also , if the HACCP system does not works, this does not mean that the control system is inadequately. This may be due to the fact that the personnel of the enterprise does not follow the rules or it is not properly trained. Moreover, one disadvantage is that the governments of many nations they do not spend enough money for training programmes to inform food manufacturers how to install right HACCP. So many food companies will set up totally incorrect the application of HACCP to be leagal and it will be hazardous for public health.
2.4 How difficult is to install the application of HACCP
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
It is my firm belief that is not so easy to implement HACCP system owing to the fact that is a very complicated method .The personnel who involved with the application of the system must have the appropriate knowledge and training to be able to use the HACCP principles successfully. Moreover, I want to mention that is not so important factor the size of the industry that makes it difficult to install the application of HACCP but the right equipment and the standards of the existing systems such as good hygiene practise. Lastly, it seems to me that an essential requirement is that we should have better knowledge about the product, the raw materials and for the manufacturing processes. This it will help us to understand when we should intervene in the duration of the production and to avoid a health risk for the consumer.
2.5 How many people are required to do the HACCP study
In my opinion, it is not possible to do only one person the HACCP study. For a large industry I believe that a team of about four to seven people is enough while for small industries I am convinced that two people are enough. In large business we need more people owing to the fact that the functions which are included are the quality assurance, manufacturing, engineering, research and development. Furthermore, in my way of thinking I believe that the most important thing is that the members of the group who will do HACCP study must have deep knowledge about the mechanisms of manufacturing of the product. Finally, I want to mention that if the members of the team have not got the appropriate knowledge about technical issues, for instance about hazard analysis, it will not be a serious problem due to the fact that it can be bought in on a consultancy basis.
2.6 Various categories that they should use HACCP system
One category that he would use the application of HACCP is foodservice operators and caterers because we observe that they are prone to food safety incidents. This happens on the grounds that they many operators are hurry to produce huge portions of products in a short time of period or from incorrect action from the personnel. So it strikes me that the installation of HACCP system is fundamental for this group on the grounds that can identify and control the critical areas.
Moreover, primary producers is the other type who they can use the HACCP system. Fish farmers, harvesters or growers of crops, fruits and vegetables or farmers who want to increase the productivity of their herd for the meat and milk industry are the main types of the primary producers. Also, it is firm belief that primary producers should know if their actions have got negative effect to the supply chain. Î’ecause if they do not identify the hazard it will occur to other stages of the processing then it will be late and difficult to face it.
Apart from the above mentioned types, another group that he can use the application of HACCP is the retailers. The basic control measure that they should make is the appropriate temperature of the product and to prevent cross-contamination. Besides this , small places of retail businesses is difficult to install HACCP system owing to the fact that one employee makes all the work and they do not have enough space for the products. For example, many times we observed in small supermarkets to place raw and cooked products together. This is extremely hazardous because there is big percentage for contamination of the products. So it is necessary for retailers to implement HACCP system on the grounds that they will minimize the danger of contamination and they will provide safe products to the counsumers.
Furthermore, suppliers can use the application of HACCP system. We divide the suppliers into two groups. The fisrt group is primary suppliers and the other group is secondary suppliers. The primary suppliers are the people who take the raw materials from the farmers or from other primary producers and they formed appropriate so the secondary suppliers to be able to manufacture and package the product. That constintutea a very important issue for the food supply chain owing to the fact that is possible the ingredients that we use to make a product at the final stages of manufacturing might have have been contaminated in one of primary stages. Thus is crucial for the suppliers to apply HACCP system due to the fact that they can prevent hazards and they can locate the dangers from their source when they occured at the primary levels of manufacture.
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3 THE PRINCIPLES OF HACCP
3.1 The seven principles of HACCP
According to HACCP system there are seven essential principles which refers how we can organize, install and maintain HACCP plan. In the middle of the decade of 90's the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the National Advisory Committee on Microbial Criteria for Foods published the seven fundamental principles of HACCP system which they have international recognition. The seven principles of HACCP are:
Conduct a hazard analysis
Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs)
Establish Critical Limits
Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP
Establish the corrective actions to be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control
Establish procedures for verification to confirm that the HACCP system is working correctly
Establish documentation concerning all procedures and records appropriate to these principles and their application.
DIAGRAM 1. LOGIC SEQUENCE FOR THE APPLICATION OF HACCP
Diagram 1 adapted from http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y1579e/y1579e03.htm
3.2 Principle 1 : Conduct a hazard analysis
At this stage, the HACCP team which we choose to do the study attempt to examine and recognise the possible hazards it might be occurred at the duration of the production process. These dangers can cause injury or a health risk to the consumer. The hazards that they can discover we separate them in three groups. They might be biological, chemical and physical hazards. The physical hazards are extrinsic matters that they can contaminate the product at any stage of the process. For instance, a foreign material item constitutes a physical hazard owing to the fact that cause pain and injury or a serious dental damage. Another example, of physical contamination is when an insect is on the surface of food product it can transfer pathogens organisms and contaminate the food commodity.
Moreover, we can have chemical contamination of the food product during the time of process or at the time of storage or when we distribute the product. The consequences that we have from chemical contamination of the foodstuff are negative for the consumer's health. Also, the bad effects that they have to human's organism can be long term such as causing different types of cancer or ca be short term like allergic reactions or asthma. In raw materials , especially on fruits and vegetables we have got chemical contamination from pesticides and herbicides. For this reason HACCP team must know which pesticides or herbicides have been used for the growth of fruits or vegetables. To my way of thinking, I believe that is very important on the grounds that all pesticides and herbicides are not allowed for use but only a mere of that and which is the maximum limit that they should contain in a foodstuff that is not harmful for consumer's health. Also, If the raw material is meat it might be polluted from the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. Many farmers prefer to provide to their animals these substances due to the fact that forms an easy way to increase the productivity of their herd even it is illegal particularly for the use of growth hormones in the nations which are members of European Union.
Apart from that, chemical additives that we use in all stages of food manufacture contain a substantial chemical hazard. The main cause that we use these chemical elements in food industry is for the safety of the product. Also, many times we use chemical additives to enhance the nutritious value of the commodity as in the case of vitamins. Lastly, we use these substances to make more attractive the extrinsic form of the product. In my opinion, the members of the team that are going to conduct HACCP study should decide which chemical additives are necessary for the production and they are safe for the people who are going to consume the product.
In addition , toxic metals comprise another chemical hazard. Toxic metals are extremely dangerous for the human's organism owing to the fact that they form poisonous soluble compounds. The most important toxic metals are Arsenic, Aluminium, Cadmium ,Barium and Vanadium. The pollution of the environment and the quality of the water that we use in food-processing are the most significant toxic metals sources.
Finally, I am convinced that one of the most essential chemical hazard is allergens. A big percentage of the population of our planet have got food allergies. I want to mention that is extremely hazardous for those people to consume a foodstuff which contains allergens on the grounds that it may die from anaphylactic shock. The foods which are contain allergens are dairy products, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and fishes. The HACCP team should be careful and control if the raw material include allergens. If the product contains any allergens must be mentioned on the label and the portion it contains. This will have as result, to inform who is allergic in these substances and to protect them from any allergy may have. Also, food manufacturers who are producing a variety of products in their enterprise ,there is a big possibility of cross-contamination of allergenic components from previous products. To avoid that , they must clean effective the equipment that they use for manufacturing.
The last group of hazard that we should examine to conduct a hazard analysis for HACCP system is biological hazards. Pathogenic bacteria constitute a biological hazard. We separate these bacteria into Gram-positive and Gram-negative. The characteristic of Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria is that they produce toxins. The most hazardous Gram-positive bacterium is Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium is an obligate anaerobe and produces neurotoxin botulin can paralyze the muscles of the human body. Normally, we found Clostridium botulinum in canned foods due to the fact that there is no oxygen. Another, Gram-positive pathogenic bacterium is Staphylococcus aureus. The nose and the skin are the most common sources of Staphylococcus aureus. It transmitted to foods by poor hygienic practises and poor handling.
The other group of pathogenic bacteria that can cause food spoilage or foodborne illness is Gram-negative. In this group the most hazardous bacteria which can contaminate the foodstuff are Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Salmonella is an non-spore forming bacterium and it can survives in dry and frozen conditions for a long time. Also, it has been found in raw meat, dairy products and poultry. Lastly, there are different types of Salmonella spp. and the majority of these bacteria can cause foodborne illness. An additional, serious Gram-negative pathogenic bacterium is Escherichia coli which is frequently present in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. Escherichia coli creates numerous of strains which are harmless for the consumer's health. The most hazardous strains are enter haemorrhagic (EHEC) strains and especially Escherichia coli 0157:H7on the grounds that it can cause serious food poisoning in humans such as bloody diarrhoea to adults and to very young persons causes renal failure.
Viruses constitute a further biological danger for the food product. Viruses commonly found in humans, animals, contaminated waters and in the faeces. Also, it is very difficult to detect viruses owing to the fact that their size is very small. We have got many different types of viruses but the most hazardous virus is hepatitis A. Finally, the HACCP team should pay attention to high standards of personal hygiene of the employees of the enterprise on the grounds that it can transmitted to foodstuff from poor handling.
3.3 Principle 2: Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs)
With the reference to Codex Guideline (1997b), a critical point is a step at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard, or to reduce it to an acceptable level. To my way of thinking, I am convinced that the members of the HACCP team first of all, should find the possible hazards and then to examine and make certain which dangers can contaminate the food product during the process. After that, they should characterize these hazardous as critical control points (CCPs). Additionally, if HACCP team has too many CCPs in their analysis , it can make the installation of the system more difficult owing to the fact that it will be more complicate. Alternatively, if they have too few in their study for the implementation of the HACCP system there is a big percentage to produce food which it might be harmful for the consumer's health. In order to advice HACCP team to determine a CCP in the analysis of HACCP system there is a useful mechanism known as the CCP decision tree. The CCP decision tree it will guidance HACCP team to decide if a CCP is required or not for all the stages of the production.
THE CCP DECISION TREE
DIAGRAM 2: Example of decision tree for process steps (adapted from http://www.southbank.edu.au/site/online/PREVIEW/HACCP/Critical%20Control%20Points/ccp/pages/decision_tree.htm)
3.4 Principle 3: Establish Critical Limits
It is my firm belief that this principle is substantial for the HACCP program on the grounds that, according to the appropriate criteria the HACCP team should decide about CCPs which can cause contamination during the manufacturing of the foodstuff. To make that decision for these dangers there are some defined parameters who named critical limits. These limits are defined from scientifically proven values and from the legislation about food safety in every country. With the reference of the Codex (1997b) the definition of a critical limit is "a criterion which separates acceptability from unacceptability , when monitoring a critical control point." Moreover, we must not exceed critical points due to the fact that it may have got contamination of the foodstuff. The measurements that we are doing to control the indetified hazard and not to cross the critical limits are the temperature, water activity (a ), pH, chlorine levels ,salt concentration and many more.
3.5 Principle 4: Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP
The aim that we should set up a plan to monitor of the CCP is to assure that the HACCP system is working correctly and the product which are going to produce is free from any danger for the buyers. With the reference of Codex (1997b) the definition of monitoring is "the act of concluding a planned sequence of observations or measurements of control parameters to assess whether a CCP is under control". Besides of this, the system that we use to monitor the CCPs based on the nature of the control measure and how accurate is the monitoring device or the technique that we put into action. Also, the devices that we use for monitoring should not be so complicated for use because it will not be practical. In addition, if it is possible the equipment should be near the point of testing owing to thefact that the members of the HACCP team will have the results faster. Lastly, I want to refer that we do not use microbiological tests on the grounds that are not immediately available. For this reason, we prefer to implement methods that their outcomes allows to the people who are involved in the process to make right and fast decisions due to the fact that they earn time which a very important factor for any food industry. Furthermore, the most monitoring procedures are on-line systems because the results are referred on 'real time' of the process. Also, we have off-line monitoring systems where we take few samples of the product and after we make measurements. For example, to make chemical analysis such as the pH of the food commodity. Lastly, the personnel of the industry must be educated properly to understand the meaning and the importance of monitoring owing to the fact that to provide accurately results of the monitoring and to make the corrective actions. For instance, what they should do when monitoring gives incorrect measurements.
3.6 Principle 5: Establish the corrective actions to be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control.
A crucial aim of the corrective actions is to prevent food products from any hazard that can cause food spoilage and foodborne illness to consumers. There are two basic categories of corrective actions. The first category includes the actions that employees of the industry should do when exceeds the levels of the critical limits and which setting to control the process. Also, they must make sure that the corrective action that they made can not cause or enhance the specific danger. For instance, if a product has a higher pH and we want to decrease the pH we should know how acid we should add to achieve the appropriate pH owing to the fact that if the pH is not right, there is a possibility to allow the growth of any pathogen microorganism which might be present.
The other type of corrective actions involves actions that staff of the enterprise should to do, when they recognise that they produced food which is not appropriate according to standards. It is crucial to act quickly. The first thing that they should do, is to stop immediately the process and to make a corrective action to start again the production in a short time. Then to ensure there are not any remains of the previous product to the line on the grounds that there is a hazard of contamination of the food which we will produce. Moreover, the members of the HACCP team should examine if they can rework the problematic product without causing any harm to consumers health who are going to eat it and the cost of this procedure it will not be so high. Finally, if we can do anything from the above mentioned solution we must destroy the product.
3.7 Principle 6: Establish procedures for verification to confirm that the HACCP system is working correctly
First of all, I want to make known that the most fundamental issue for this principle is to apply validation and verification correctly and successfully. Validation is obtaining important information that helps HACCP team to form a conclusion that the elements of the HACCP are persuasive (Codex 1997). Moreover, with the reference of Codex (1997) verification is " the application of methods, procedures, tests and other evaluations, in addition to monitoring , to determine compliance with the HACCP plan''.
When the members of the HACCP team finish the study about the installation of HACCP system it is essential to carry out the activities of the validation to make sure that all elements of the HACCP plan will be persuasive before the implementation of the HACCP system will otherwise it will be incorrect. On the other hand, there is an misuderstading of the requirements of the Codex test owing to the fact that provides on, an unsatisfactory explanation of the activities including validation at the same time with the verification activities.( Food Control, Volume 10). That constitutes an important issue for HACCP team and the employees who are going to install HACCP system should pay attention for each CCP particularly. Furthermore, it may be helpful for the HACCP team to use knowledgeable resources from other organisations to check the study and make certain that all the CCPs have been analysed. This thing consists a rightful solution for the owner of the food industry when the personnel and especially HACCP team does not have any experience about the HACCP application or when they are going to create a new product or to implement a new technique for manufacturing. Under other conditions there is a huge possibility for the commodity to be hazardous for consumption.
3.8 Principle 7: Establish documentation concerning all procedures and records appropriate to these principles and their application.
This is the last principle of the application of HACCP system and it is crucial on the grounds that HACCP team should provide suitable certificates that the installation of the system is being successful and it is working correctly. Another, important point for the companies which are producing food is that the documents must be kept for a period of time according to the shelf-life of the product and to the legislation. Moreover, the documents should be dated and signed from the persons who are taking part in every stage of the application of HACCP system. Finally, we have different categories of records. For instance, one type of record is CCP monitoring records or the records that HACCP team must have to ensure that they calibrate the devices which are using for measurements during the manufacture. Another, type of records includes the HACCP plan with a diagram of the process and the HACCP control chart with other important information like how they manufacture a specific product.
4 LEGISLATION FOR HACCP
4.1 European legislation about HACCP
According to European legislation requires from all the food industries to keep up hygiene processes which are depend on HACCP principles (Regulation 852-2004). Moreover, for food businesses which are small is very complicate and difficult to identify critical control points. For this reason, small businesses if they reinforce the hygiene practices there is a big percentage to replace the monitoring of critical control points. Furthermore, if food manufacturers want to have a successful result about the installation of HACCP system they should train properly the employees. Also, for the companies which are going to produce food commodities they should determine and control the critical points in every stage of the production owing to the fact that they will prevent or eliminate any hazard that can cause food spoilage. In addition, the food company should apply the seven fundamental principles with the reference of the Codex Alimentarius on the grounds that it constitutes the basic guidance for the installation of HACCP system (Regulation 852-2004). Lastly, all the documents that are filling from the people who are taking part into the processing of the food should be accessible at any time to the local authorities due to the fact that certificate that HACCP system is working correctly and they are legal records.
Taking everything into consideration, it is my firm belief that the application of HACCP system is essential for the food safety on the grounds that enhance it. It can be applied to the whole food chain. For instance, from the first stages of the production like the primary producers to the final stage which are the consumers. In addition, increases the confidence of the buyer owing to the fact that the consumer feels safe that there is an appropriate control about the quality of the product who are going to eat. Moreover, the installation of HACCP system in a food enterprise consists the best accurate and control system about the food safety due to the fact that we use on-line monitoring systems during the production and we can intervene every moment. So, we avoid the risk to produce foods which are not proper for consumption. Apart from that , with the application of HACCP system we can prevent the consumers from diseases that can cause food borne illness. For example, in the middle of the 19th century and earlier, many people across the whole world died owing to the fact that consume food which had contaminated from pathogens microorganisms. On the other hand, the authorities of every nation should make more frequent controls to food industries about the hygienic practices that they are using and for the application of HACCP system to secure the quality of the product which are going to market. Finally, the governments of each country should spend huge quantities of money to inform and train food manufacturers about HACCP system.
Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (1997b) HACCP System and Guidelines for its Application, Annexe to CAC/RCP 1-1969, Rev 3 in Codex Alimentarious Commission Food Hygiene Basic Texts, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, World Health Organisation, Rome.
Codex Alimentarius (1997). Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system and guidelines for its application. Alinorm 97/13A, Codex Alimentarius Commission, Rome
Volume 10, Issues 4-5, August-October 1999, Pages 277-279
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004, on the hygiene of foodstuffs