With the continuing evolution of the food processing industry – and the food supply chain as a whole – what can we expect for the future of HACCP? Will HARPC, GFSI, or some other food safety program eventually replace it? Or will HACCP continue to be a preeminent food safety program in the future?
“HACCP is here to stay,” said Alchemy Systems Vice President of Professional Services Jeff Chilton. “It will certainly not be going away.” This is because, he explained, it is entrenched in all of the regulatory and the audit requirements. Additionally – and perhaps of greatest importance, “HACCP is an effective approach to food safety, so it should continue to be embraced by industry to promote a safe food supply,” he said.
That said, the evolution of our food safety systems will continue to evolve.
• GFSI Benchmarking standards are updated every three years at a minimum, so there will always be a continued evolution of requirements.
• Regulatory standards are routinely updated as needed, with guidance documents still being written and issued on various aspect of FSMA’s Preventive Controls and its other major rules.
• HACCP will continue to get more attention.
As an example, in the recent SQF Edition 8 changes, the number of questions on the audit checklist related to the FSMA-required Food Safety Plan increased from a single question to 17 questions. The checklist now includes the auditing of each individual component of the Food Safety Plan. This reinforces the need to make sure your HACCP and Food Safety plans and reassessments are accurate.
Although these ongoing updates and changes mean that processors must be aware of, stay current on, and implement practices to comply with the resulting regulatory and standards changes, such evolution is important. “Food safety is essential both to meet consumer expectations and to protect our industry,” Chilton said, adding, “HACCP is one of those rare win-win situations that is good for business and good for the public.”
To ensure your plan stays up to date, he recommends that a HACCP reassessment or FDA Food Safety Plan reanalysis be completed whenever changes occur in your food safety systems, such as new equipment, new products, or changes in raw materials. “It’s important to assure that your plan is a living, breathing document that always reflects your current operations,” he said.