Acronyms related to food safety

Learn what HACCP, GMP, SOP, SSOP all mean and examples of preventing various hazards before the food leaves the farm.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systems approach to improving food safety by preventing food contamination. The HACCP concept was developed by The Pillsbury Company in 1959 for NASA. It became a requirement for USDA inspected meat and poultry plants in 1996. The juice and seafood industries are also required to have HACCP. Many other food processors implement HACCP on a voluntary basis. The HACCP concept focuses on the implementation of a process that reduces risk and leads to a reduction of pathogens. This, in turn, decreases the incidence of foodborne illness.

The principles of HACCP are implemented by plants to develop science-based process control systems that minimize food safety hazards, including chemical, physical, and biological hazards.

The seven principles of HACCP include:

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis
  2. Determine the critical control points (CCPs)
  3. Establish critical limits
  4. Establish monitoring procedures
  5. Establish corrective actions
  6. Establish verification procedures
  7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures. Written documentation and verification that something a plan indicates will be done is actually done are key to a successful HACCP plan

Part of a HACCP plan includes having prerequisite programs in place. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are a set of procedures that are carried out by an operation to make sure that food for human consumption is not adulterated. Areas of food production that may have GMPs include personnel, buildings and facilities, equipment and utensils, production and processing controls, and warehousing and distribution.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are also part of a prerequisite program that is a set of specific steps related to carry out a task. An example SOP could be the steps needed to calibrate a thermometer. Other prerequisite programs may include supplier approval, traceability, and ingredient specifications. Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) are the essential prerequisite program to HACCP and are important for the effectiveness of a HACCP plan and general sanitation in processing plants. A SSOP is a written plan of procedures conducted daily, prior to and during processing to prevent cross contamination and adulteration of product.

Improving food safety starts on the farm. An example of a hazard that can be eliminated at the farm includes not sending livestock to market with broken needles, this is a physical hazard. Avoiding a chemical hazard can be achieved by making sure antibiotic withdrawals are properly followed. Sending animals to harvest with clean hides can reduce the likelihood of biological contamination.

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