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HACCP - Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point



The food chain
HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)


People have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption. Foodborne illness and foodborne injury are at best unpleasant; at worst, they can be fatal. But there are also other consequences. Outbreaks of foodborne illness can damage trade and tourism, and tourism and lead to loss of earnings, unemployment and litigation. Food spoilage is wasteful, costly and can adversely affect trade and consumer confidence.

International food trade and foreign travel, are increasing, bringing important social and economic benefits. But this also makes the spread of illness around the world easier. Eating habits too, have undergone major change in many countries over the last two edcades and new food production, preparation and distribution techniques have developed to reflect this.

Effective hygiene control, therefore, is vital to avoid the adverse human health and economic consequences of foodborne illness, foodborne injury and food spoilage. Everyone, including farmers and growers, manufacturers and processors, food handlers and consumers, have a responsibility to assure that food is safe and suitable for consumption.
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The Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene
~ Identify the essential principles of food hygiene applicable throughout the food chain (including primary production through to the final consumer), to achieve the goal of ensuring that the food is safe and suitable for human consumption.
~ Recommend a HACCP - based approach as a means to enhance food safety.
~ Indicate how to implement those principles.
~ Provide a guidance for specific codes which may be needed for - sectors of the food chain; processes; or commodities; to amplify the hygiene requirements specific to those areas.
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The food chain

This document follows the food chain primary production to the final consumer, setting out the necessary hygiene conditions for producing food which is safe and suitable for consumption. The document provides a base-line structure for other, more specific, codes applicable to particular sectors. Such specific codes and guidelines should be read in conjunction with this document and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System and Guidelines for its Application (Annex).

Roles of Government, industry and consumers
Government can consider the contents of this document and decide how they should encourage the implementation of these general principles to:
~ Protect consumers adequately from illness or injury caused by food; policies need to consider the vulnerability of the population, or of different groups within the population.
~ Provide assurance that food is suitable for human consumption.
~ Maintain confidence in internationally traded food.
~ Provide health education programmes which effectively communicate the principles of food hygiene to industry and consumers.

Industry should apply the hygienic practices set out in this document to:

~ Provide food which is safe and suitable for consumption.
~ Ensure that consumers have clear and easily-understood information, by way of labeling and other appropriate mean, to enable them to protect their food from contamination and growth/survival of foodborne pathogens by storing, handling and preparing it correctly.
~ Maintain confidence in internationally traded food.

Consumers should recognize their role by following relevant instructions and applying appropriate food hygiene measures.
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