6.1 HACCP Defined
6.2 Current Training Programmes
HACCP programmes in the United States as monitored by the United States Food and Drug Administration focus on maintaining safety standards for seafood. That is, safety assurance, not quality assurance, is the cornerstone of the programme. HACCP programmes in other countries often include quality standards as well as safety standards in programme design. In European countries, HACCP is more broadly defined as part of an overall ISO 9000 quality system. Seafood processing plants can be certified to meet various ISO 9000 standards. The goal of ISO 9000 is to achieve quality that ensures the economical production of consistent products that meet or exceed customer requirements and conformance to regulation (Bogason 1994). Various levels of ISO-certification can be achieved ranging from the more comprehensive ISO-9001 (model for quality assurance in design/development; production; installation; and servicing) to the more simple ISO-9003 (model for quality assurance in final inspection and testing). Some key reasons for using ISO standards are to provide direction, generate ideas for change, design or redesign systems, implement changes, measure results, and manage change through audits and reviews (Bogason 1994). The core of the ISO 9000 series of standards is the standards for quality systems. An organization can certify its quality system if it meets the demands of one or several of these standards. ISO 9000 describes the demands for a quality system that is to be used for managing the quality in the entire value chain, from developing products to delivery and service. The other standards for quality systems contain parts of this one, and consequently the contents of all the standards can be described by focusing on ISO 9001. Additional details and a study of the economic consequences of ISO 9000 is available on industry in Norway (Stemsrudhagen 1997). While this document focuses principally on HACCP (and seafood safety), it also covers quality aspects of seafood, and describes the use of HACCP as a business management tool in an ISO 9000-like context.
The use of HACCP in the seafood industry has taken on a global perspective in the production of fish and fishery products (Lima dos Santos and Sophonphong 1998). They report the results of an FAO survey that categorized the status of countries and the seafood industries in those countries in adopting seafood HACCP procedures. Countries whose governments and seafood industries which have adopted or decided to introduce seafood HACCP include Canada, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Iceland, United States and more recently Argentina, Peru, Ireland, Cuba, Morocco, Norway, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bangladesh. A second group consists of countries whose governments have taken unilateral initiatives to introduce HACCP via regulations with limited success and cooperation between the regulatory authorities and the seafood industry. These countries include Mexico, Venezuela, and many member countries of the European Union, for example Italy, Germany and France. In a third group of countries, the private sector is taking the lead in voluntarily trying to introduce HACCP-based programmes regarding seafood export production. These include Madagascar, Venezuela, Honduras, Tunisia, Myanmar and Portugal. A final group consists of countries where governments have decided to apply HACCP but have not yet defined the process, including Japan, Russia and China. Remaining countries where the status of seafood HACCP is unclear include Pakistan, South Korea, Iran, Colombia, Panama, some East and Central European countries and most African States. More detail is available on seafood HACCP systems as constructed by different controlling authorities relating to Codex, and in Canada and the European Union (Barker and McKenzie 1997).
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a preventative system of hazard control rather than one of reaction or point inspection to decrease a hazard. Food processors can use HACCP to identify hazards, establish controls and monitor the controls in the case of harmful microorganisms or chemical and/or physical contaminants in food. The use of the HACCP concept for food has its origin in the United States space programme in the early 1960s. In order to provide safe food during space flights, it was determined that a preventative system was best in order to minimize the risk of food safety hazards, rather than end product testing. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first required HACCP controls for food processing in 1973 for canned foods to protect against Clostridium botulinum, and recently has been required for seafood in the United States. HACCP has also been endorsed worldwide by Codex Alimentarius10, the European Union and by several countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
The first detailed publication in the United States of how HACCP could be applied to the seafood industry appeared in 1977, and except for low acid canned food, few attempts were made before 1985 to apply HACCP to seafood products. At that time HACCP was recommended as the most effective way to monitor the safety of fish and shellfish. The FAO Fish Utilization and Marketing Service began in 1985 to use HACCP in its training programmes and the United States National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) developed a HACCP based programme for seafood (Martin et al. 1993). The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Evaluation of the Safety of Fishery Products published a major document on seafood safety in 1991 (Ahmed et al. 1991). The United States Food and Drug Administration issued its final rule to mandate HACCP for use in seafood processing plants in the United States effective 18 December 1997 (United States Food and Drug Administration 1995). The European Union formally shifted to the preventative systematic approach provided by HACCP in 1991 (EEC Commission Decision 1991b). The main technical characteristic of the new inspection and quality control procedures approved at that time was the adoption and enforcement of HACCP in European Union member countries and in those countries that wish to export to the European Union (Lima dos Santos, Josupeit and Chimisso dos Santos 1993).
HACCP is based on seven principles: (1) conduct hazard analysis and identify preventative measures; (2) identify critical control points (CCP); (3) establish critical limits; (4) monitor each CCP; (5) establish corrective action to be undertaken when a critical limit deviation occurs; (6) establish a record keeping system; (7) establish verification procedures. The interested reader can learn more about HACCP from a number of documents (Seafood HACCP Alliance for Training and Education 1997; United States Food and Drug Administration 1996) which provided the source of this summary.
Two large-scale programmes provide examples of the intensity of seafood HACCP training activities currently in progress. In 1985, the FAO Fish Utilization and Marketing Service began to focus on HACCP as applied to the fishing industry. The core of this activity is the execution of courses, workshops, seminars, and the development of training materials relevant to developing countries needs (Lupín 1997; Lima dos Santos and Lupín 1997). The courses cover not only the introduction of HACCP, but other related subjects combining theoretical presentations with practical work, comparative analysis of the requirements of the European Union and the United States with other workshops dedicated to economics, sanitation audits and verification and visits to processing plants. The courses range from three days to three weeks in length. Since 1986, over 3 000 persons from more than 80 developing countries of Africa, Asia, South Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean have received training. Since 1991, the HACCP concept has been promoted in Central and Eastern Europe. The main objective of the programme is to train other trainers.
In the United States, an organized alliance of seafood industry trade organizations, Sea Grant universities and state and federal agencies with responsibility for seafood safety have developed a training curriculum and are conducting seafood HACCP training programmes (Seafood HACCP Alliance for Training and Education 1977; Ward 1997). This programme includes a curriculum that trains both seafood processing plant employees and regulatory agency and academic personnel who are then qualified to conduct additional training courses. By the beginning of 1998, 525 trainers had received certificates from the United States Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) for completing the course. Through these trainers, an additional 4 100 members of the seafood industry, over 2 200 regulators and seafood inspectors at the federal, state and local levels, and over 500 technical experts from academia and consulting groups have completed the training. The total includes 500 international graduates. Training through 1998 is expected to bring the total number of graduates to 10 000. The six-year programme began in 199411.