Pre-requisite programmes such as GAP, GMP and GHP must be working effectively within a commodity system before HACCP is applied. If these pre-requisite programmes are not functioning effectively then the introduction of HACCP will be complicated, resulting in a cumbersome, over-documented system.
Good Agricultural Practices
Primary food production should be managed to ensure that food is safe and wholesome for the consumer. Production will start on the farm, in the sea or lake or even within a forest. It is essential that certain ground rules are followed. Land used for crop or horticulture production should be fit for purpose and should not have previously been contaminated with heavy metals, industrial chemicals or environmental waste. Such hazards will be transferred into the food chain rendering the commodity unfit for human consumption. Farmers should control production so that contamination of the crop, proliferation of pests, and diseases of animals and plants, do not compromise food safety. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), including Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) where appropriate, should be adopted to make sure that the harvested commodity will not present a food hazard to the consumer.
Good Storage Practices (GSP) should be followed when the commodity is stored on the farm. As well as being covered in Food Hygiene Basic Texts (CODEX) there are also four ISO procedures that cover the storage of cereal s and pulses (ISO 6322 series). GSP should also be followed for storage throughout the commodity system.
Good Manufacturing Practices
Establishment Design and Facilities
The structure and location of a processing plant needs to be considered in relation to the nature of operations and risks associated with them.
Food premises should be designed to minimise possibilities of contamination of commodity or product.
Design and layout should permit maintenance, cleaning and disinfection of the site to minimise airborne contamination.
All surfaces that come into contact with food should be non toxic, as well as being easy to maintain and clean in order to prevent any additional contamination.
Suitable facilities should exist for temperature and humidity control, when required.
Effective measures should exist to prevent access by pests
Control of Operation
Effective control measures should be in place to reduce the risk of contamination of the commodity or food supply such that it is safe and fit for purpose:
Adequate time, temperature or humidity controls
Food grade packaging
Potable water supplies
Maintenance of equipment
Maintenance and Sanitation
Procedures and work instructions should exist to demonstrate an adequate level of maintenance of an establishment as well as efficient practices for cleaning, waste management, and pest control. Overall, these operations will support the ongoing control of potential food hazards that may contaminate food.
Measures need to be in place to ensure that food handlers do not contaminate food. This objective can be attained by maintaining an appropriate level of personal cleanliness and following guidelines for personal hygiene.
The method of transportation should be such that measures are taken to prevent any contamination or deterioration of the commodity. Commodities or product that need to be transported in certain environments should be appropriately controlled, e.g. chilled, frozen, or stored under specific humidity levels.
Containers and conveyors used for transporting food need to be maintained in good condition and be easy to clean.
Containers used for bulk transfer should be designated and marked specifically for food use only.
All food handlers should be trained in personal hygiene, as well as in the specific operation with which they are working, to a level commensurate with their duties. Food handlers should also be supervised by trained supervisors.
An ongoing training programme for food handlers is paramount to the success of a Food Safety Management System
Product Information and Consumer Awareness
The end product should be accompanied by adequate information to ensure that personnel at the next stage in the food chain will handle, store, process, prepare and display the product safely. Since the consumer may be responsible for performing the ulitimate control measure, the cooking of raw meat or fish, they should have all the relevant information required to carry out this step effectively.
All batches of food should be easily identified, by a batch or lot number, to allow traceability of the commodity if required.