HACCP, which is the short form for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is a certificate that ensures safety of consumer food products. It certifies food safety via a systematic preventive process, which includes guidelines to protect food from physical, biological and chemical risks. It also controls the supply chain to manage ample supply of products throughout the year.
Created by World Health Organization and UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to prepare international guidelines, codes and standards of food safety, HACCP is generally applicable on every stage of the food chain, such as food production, processing, packaging, sorting or distribution. It also monitors a number of other industries like pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Basically, this process focuses on the products that can create health problems, if their safety standards are not followed.
To go in details, HACCP is applicable on fisheries, meat processing plants, dairies, processed, frozen and canned food and beverages, restaurants, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, caterers, fast food restaurants etc. The basic objective of HACCP is to create a model for manufacturers and producers that they can follow to ensure product safety.
Following HACCP not only improves food safety, but it also systematizes the entire food chain in our economy, which spreads awareness about food safety, promotes internal safety reviews and increase food and material traceability. HACCP also reduces complaints against food quality and buyers’ confidence in the products.
The Food Business Operators on acquiring the HACCP certification ensures food safety of the consumers at every level of the food chain. Food chain can be contaminated at any stage, right from the fields where the grains, rice, fruits or vegetables are grown. HACCP also monitors the storage facilities and transportation services and makes it important for the seller to follow the rules and regulations.
HACCP not only benefits the consumers, it also proves to be beneficial for producers and sellers. By following the guidelines defined by this certification, they reduce the loss incurred on spoilage, defective products, recalls and returns.
HACCP certification is an important step for every food business owner, however as per ‘The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006’, it is not mandatory to acquire the HACCP certification and an FSMS (Food Safety & Management System) plan which covers Schedule 4 (GMP/GHP) needs to be effectively followed by FBOs in India.