Designing a HACCP Plan
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Hello and welcome! This is Sheila Johnson and Dr. Ron Jones from the Food Safety and Inspection
Service. Today, we’re starting a ten part series of information on how meat and poultry
plants go about designing a HACCP plan. We’ll start with an introduction – which is what
we’ll discuss today. Then we’ll go through the preliminary steps, the 7 principles of
HACCP and end with a wrap up, tips, lessons learned and sources for more information.
Ron, would you tell us a little bit about HACCP – what it is, and how it came about?
Yes, first I’d like to thank you for having me here today. As you know, on July 25, 1996
FSIS published a final rule on Pathogen Reduction; Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Point Systems. Or as many refer to it HACCP. The HACCP rule requires meat and poultry plants
under Federal inspection to take responsibility for reducing contamination of meat and
poultry products with disease causing or pathogenic bacteria. Reducing contamination with
pathogenic bacteria is a key factor in reducing the number of deaths and illnesses linked
to meat and poultry products. In a nutshell, HACCP regulations require meat and poultry
plants to have a plan – a written plan – to identify and prevent hazards before they occur,
and be able to correct problems if they are detected.
What hazards are meat and poultry plants trying to prevent?
I’m glad you asked that. Plants are trying to prevent three basic types of hazards. There’s biological hazards
such as the microbial pathogens E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes
and Salmonella to guard. There are also physical hazards to guard
against… for example... Let’s say a piece of plastic or a small piece of metal is found
while a product is being processed - that’s a hazard. This plastic or metal could have
come from the grinder or packaging. Let me give you another example, maintenance of plant
facilities and equipment also prevents physical hazards. And there are chemical hazards
plants must guard against as well. Some foods produce naturally occurring chemical toxins but
chemical hazards could also come from food additives or pesticides.
How is HACCP different than traditional inspection?
Sheila, the old system was based on traditional inspection of sight, smell, and touch.
The responsibility was with the inspector in traditional inspection. In HACCP, plants
must be more accountable for their products and the process they use. Inspectors are monitoring
the system for problems. HACCP is based on prevention. The overall goal of HACCP is to
prevent or reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of meat
and poultry products.
Okay, let’s talk about plants and how they go about designing a HACCP plan.
Well, first, because HACCP is a science-based process control system, designed to identify
and prevent problems before they occur, and correct problems as soon as they are detected
– it’s important to know the seven HACCP principles, so let’s briefly review them.
- Principle (1) is to conduct a hazard analysis – what are your food safety hazards
and whether they are reasonably likely to occur?
- Principle (2) is to identify critical control points, -- or where can controls
be applied in your process to prevent, eliminate or reduce a food safety hazard.
- Principle (3) is to establish critical limits – or as I refer to it as set boundaries
- Principle (4) is to establish critical control point monitoring procedures to
make sure you’re meeting food safety limits.
- Principle (5) is to establish corrective actions. This is important. You want
to have procedures in place in case something goes wrong.
- Principle (6) is to establish recordkeeping procedures.
- And finally, Principle (7) is to establish procedures for verifying that the HACCP
system is working as intended.
Thank’s Ron for your time today and providing an overview of HACCP. And thanks to all
of you out there listening. For more information on HACCP visit
www.fsis.usda.gov. Join us for the next episode
in our series “Designing a HACCP plan” where we will talk more about the preliminary steps
to designing a HACCP plan.
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