Few things related to food safety are as misunderstood as the HACCP standard. From how it compares to HARPC and FSSC 22000 to whether it's still relevant, food producers are often unclear.
Not only is HACCP still relevant, but it has also paved the way for newer, more comprehensive requirements and has even been incorporated into some of them.
What Is HACCP?
HACCP, Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points, has its origins in the space program. In the early 1960s Pillsbury was commissioned to create cube-sized food for astronauts that was free of microbials. The company developed HACCP as a process for ensuring microbial-free foods and presented it to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1969. The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) formally published HACCP as a standard in 1989.
HACCP applies to low-acid canned food, juice and seafood processors. As suggested by its name, HACCP is about reducing risk at control points, such as time limits, minimum temperatures and continuous monitoring. It is not focused on preventative measures that food processors are increasingly concerned with. As a result, HACCP feels to some like an old way of doing things.
What Is HARPC?
In 2010, HARPC (Hazard Analysis & Risk-Based Preventive Controls) was established as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). While HACCP is a standard that focuses on critical control points (CCPs) for a limited number of food producers, HARPC is a law that focuses on potential hazards throughout the food production process, from supply chain to sanitation and listeria control to allergen management – for all food facilities except those subject to HACCP or the FDA's new Standards for Produce Safety.
HARPC also includes requirements for preventing fraud and for preventing the intentional adulteration of food, such as strict visitor access and control.
What Is ISO 22000?
In 2005, the ISO 22000 standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to help ensure food safety. ISO 22000 is comprised of all seven HACCP principles as well as interactive communication, system management and prerequisite programs.
What Is FSSC 22000?
In 2010, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) approved the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000, which provides a framework for effectively managing food safety responsibilities. FSSC 22000 is now on version 4.1, is fully recognized by GFSI and is based on existing ISO Standards, including ISO 22000.
FSSC demonstrates that a company has a robust food safety management system with the same preventative controls as HARPC. FSSC 22000 has a more limited scope than ISO 20000 – focused on farming, food processing, feed production, food packaging materials, transport & storage and catering.
HARPC vs. FSSC 22000 & LRQA
HARPC and FSSC 2000 are very similar, other than some terminology and record keeping differences. The big difference is that HARPC, as part of FSMA, is law, while FSSC 22000 is a standard.
LRQA does provided accredited certification to the FSSC 22000 and BRC standards. If you are certified to a GFSI-recognized standard like FSSC 22000 or BRC, there is a high probability that you are in a good position to meet the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, but legal counsel should be relied on for determining if you are within the law.
We also provide HACCP assessments, certification and training for those food producers exempt from HARPC.
In addition, if your organization is looking to learn more about HARPC and meet the PCQI Human Food requirements, our team of food safety experts provides HARPC online training as well as PCQI live online or in-person training.
Finally, LRQA is working towards recognition as an FDA accredited third party certification body under FSMA to deliver accredited Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) certification as well as accredited Foreign Supplier Facility Certification (FSFC) under FSMA and the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).