Dr. A. Djazayery
Professor of Nutrition, School of Public Health and Institute of Public Health Research
Tehran University of Medical Sciences
With traditional methods of food control in food processing plants it has been usual to take a sample of the final product leaving the factory and perform laboratory analyses on this sample. When a bacterial contamination was detected, there was no way to know its source or pinpoint exactly where in the processing line it had occurred. Observation, experience, and controlled research showed that contamination could occur at any stage; from the point at which raw materials entered to the final point of the product leaving the processing plant, including outside exposures to contaminants. The source(s) of contamination in the plant could potentially be raw materials, machinery, equipment, or personnel.
Thus, food processors and control experts adopted the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, which has had wide application and success in other industries. In this system it is possible to detect contamination at its origin (biological, chemical, or physical) and take appropriate remedial action. The HACCP system is different from traditional control methods and can play an effective role in promoting food safety and consequently in food security (i.e., access to sufficient, safe food by the community).1
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a production control system for the food industry. It is a process used to determine the potential danger points in food production and define a strict management system to monitor and manage the system ensuring safe food products for consumers. HACCP is designed to prevent the potential hazards, including: microbiological, chemical, and physical. Juice, meat and poultry, and seafood are regulated at the federal level. Meat and Poultry HACCP systems are regulated by the USDA, and juice and seafood systems are regulated by the FDA.” More information about the HACCP is available at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fsrio/topics/tphaccp.htm and http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/haccp.html.