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The Seven HACCP Principles

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a process control system designed to identify and prevent microbial and other hazards in food production and distribution. It includes steps designed to prevent problems before they occur and to correct deviations as soon as they are detected. Such preventive control systems with documentation and verification are widely recognized by scientific authorities and international organizations as the most effective approach available for producing and distributing safe food.

Under the Pathogen Reduction and HACCP Systems regulations, USDA is requiring that all meat and poultry plants and warehouses design and implement HACCP systems. Facilities are required to develop HACCP plans to monitor and control production and distribution operations.

HACCP was implemented first in the largest meat and poultry plants, with 75 percent of slaughter production under HACCP-based process control systems on January 26, 1998. 

We maintain our warehouses and truck fleet using the suggestions of the Scientific and Food Safety Authorities such as the National Academy of Sciences and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria endorse HACCP for Foods (NACMCF), and also international organizations as the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods.

The HACCP systems must be based on these seven principles:

1)  Hazard analysis
2)  Critical control point identification
3)  Establishment of critical limits
4)  Monitoring procedures
5)  Corrective actions
6)  Record keeping
7)  Verification procedures

PRINCIPLE 1:   Conduct a hazard analysis.
Plants and refrigerated warehouses determine the food safety hazards and identify the preventive
measures the facility can apply to control these hazards.

PRINCIPLE 2:   Identify critical control points.
A critical control point (CCP) is a point, step, or procedure in a food process at which control can be applied and, as a result, a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated, or reduced to an acceptable level. A food safety hazard is any biological, chemical, or physical property that may cause a food to be unsafe for human consumption.

PRINCIPLE 3:   Establish critical limits for each critical control point.  A critical limit is the maximum or minimum value to which a physical, biological, or chemical hazard must be controlled at a critical control point to prevent, eliminate, or reduce to an acceptable level.

PRINCIPLE 4:   Establish critical control point monitoring requirements.
Monitoring activities are necessary to ensure that the process is under control at each critical control point. FSIS (Food Safety Inspection System) is requiring that each monitoring procedure and its frequency be listed in the HACCP plan.

PRINCIPLE 5:  Establish corrective actions.  These are actions to be taken when monitoring indicates a deviation from an established critical limit.  The final rule requires a plant’s or refrigerated warehouse HACCP plan to identify the corrective actions to be taken if a critical limit is not met.  Corrective actions are intended to ensure that no product injurious to health or otherwise adulterated as a result of the deviation enters commerce.  

PRINCIPLE 6: Establish record keeping procedures.
The HACCP regulation requires that all plants and refrigerated warehouses maintain certain documents, including its hazards analysis and written HACCP plan, and records documenting the monitoring of critical control points, critical limits, verification activities, and the handling of processing deviations.

PRINCIPLE 7: Establish procedures for verifying the HACCP system is working as intended.  Validation ensures that the plans and/ or refrigerated warehouses do what they were designed to do; that is, that we are successful in ensuring the production and distribution of safe product.  Plants will be required to validate their own HACCP plan, FSIS will not approve HACCP plans in advance, but will review them for conformance with the final rule.

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