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__ History of HACCP


The traditional approach to food safety assurance was based on applying codes of Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in food processing. Confirmation of safety and identification of potential problems were obtained by end-product testing. Inspectors checked for compliance with the codes and sampled the foods for laboratory analysis. Although these actions are still essential parts of any foods control programme, they have certain limitations and shortcomings.

In contrast, the HACCP system clearly identifies food safety problems and also where and how they can be controlled or prevented. To assure that these actions are executed regularly and consistently, they have to be described and people who are responsible for their execution have to be trained. A record-keeping system has to be developed to provide documentation for all actions and measurements.

HACCP is a system which identifies, evaluates and controls hazards which are significant for food safety (CAC, 2001)

Originally, HACCP was developed and used by the private food industry. The concept was used by the Pillsbury Company in the late 60ies for the safety of food intended for the US Space Program. However, it took many years and endless discussions between regulatory agencies and the food industry on the value of end-product testing and microbiological standards for the food before the HACCP concept was generally accepted as the primary means to assure food safety. A few milestones in this development are shown below:


The HACCP concept presented at the US National Conference on Food Protection


Comprehensive treatise on HACCP published by the Pillsbury Co. HACCP - with only three principles






National Academy of Sciences (NAS) (USA) recommends HACCP (Anon., 1985)


Book on HACCP by International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF, 1988)


The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF), USA, approved the first major document on HACCP


NACMCF issues a revised document on HACCP (NACMCF, 1992). HACCP now has seven principles


Codex issues the first HACCP Guidelines which were adopted by the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission


Based on a number of FAO/WHO Consultations, Codex issues a revised document (CAC, 2001). NACMCF issues the third revised document (NACMCF, 1997). The two revised documents from Codex and NACMCF are very similar.

Integration of HACCP into the official regulations in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) took place as follows:


Council Directive no. 91/493/EEC (EC, 1991) which places the responsibility of product safety on the industry and introduces the concept of 'own checks' and Critical Control Points during processing


Council Directive no. 93/43/EEC (EC, 1993) on the hygiene of foodstuffs


Commission Decision 94/356/EEC (EC, 1994) detailing the rules for the application of the HACCP system


US-Food and Drug Administration (FDA, 1995) issues the Code of Federal Regulations on safe and sanitary processing and importing of fish and fishery products


US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service adopts the final rule on the HACCP system (USDA, 1996).

Although the HACCP system both in EU and US is based on the same seven principles, there are some differences between the two systems. These differences are mainly related to the prerequisite programmes, the way they are documented and verified, and the scope and content of the identification of hazards.

Until April 1995, acceptance of the work of Codex by the member governments was voluntary. However, with the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in April 1995 the situation has changed. According to two of the Agreements of the WTO (the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS) and the Agreement on Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT)), the work of Codex is recognised as the reference for international food safety requirement. This implies that in the future member states of WTO cannot reject food, which meets Codex recommendations and standards without providing justification based on risk assessment. Since the application of HACCP is recommended by Codex, this means that HACCP has become the international reference system for food safety assurance.

Many excellent books and articles on the principles and the application of HACCP have been published in recent years. Examples are: ILSI (1997), Mortimore and Wallace (1998), Corlett (1998), Dillon and Griffith (2001), Motarjemi and van Schothorst (1999), and National Seafood HACCP Alliance (1997).

These publications should be consulted for detailed information. The present Chapter is intended as a general introduction to HACCP giving sufficient information to the reader to understand the system and to enable him/her to apply or assess the system in practical food safety assurance programmes.


















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Project Partners and contact
IPA Socio Economic Partnership Program
HACCP Terminology
HACCP System
History of HACCP
Management of HACCP-12 Steps