How Does HARPC Enhnace Food Safety in a Processing Plant When Combined with HAACP?
With news stories occurring frequently about large amounts of people becoming sick after eating food at a restaurant or from a specific manufacturer, food safety is a concern for everyone. While the federal government enforces strong standards to ensure food safety, food producers themselves can do more than buy the right cleaning supplies. One way to start is by adding an HARPC process to an already-existent HAACP process.
What Do These Letters Mean?
HAACP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is a program that food growers and suppliers already use. This system requires them to identify potential hazards and to control them at various points throughout the production process. Hazards could be biological, physical, or chemical and may involve any of the many food production supplies that exist along the production line. Food companies using the HAACP program must ensure that they have adequate cleaning supplies and production supplies necessary for food safety.
HARPC stands for Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls. It’s similar to HAACP in that its goal is food safety standards prevention. HARCP is an important supplement for food manufacturers and should not be viewed as a replacement for HAACP in any way.
Benefits of Using Two Food Safety Programs
Currently, the USDA and FDA require food manufacturers to follow the guidelines of HAACP while processing seafood, meat, and all juice products. Its primary goals include preventing identified hazards from happening again and to reduce any hazards associated with food safety to an acceptable risk. Food manufacturers follow 12 specific steps to determine any biological, physical, or chemical hazards and then takes immediate steps to address them.
The HARPC food program has a broader reach because it covers all food manufacturers, including those importing food to the United States. It also seeks to find a wider range of hazards. These include:
- Biological, chemical, physical, and radiological hazards
- Natural and unintentionally introduced hazards
- Terrorism and other intentionally introduced hazards
- Natural toxins such as allergens, parasites, pesticides, and unapproved food coloring and additives
Food companies that integrate HARCP with HAACP take a scientific approach to identifying and correcting food safety hazards. HARCP follows a precise seven-step method, all of which requires documentation. Additionally, the food manufacturer must reassess its safety plan at least once every three years and report its findings to the FDA and USDA. This ensures continuous improvement and the highest possible food safety standards to protect consumers.
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