HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a systematic preventive approach to food safety and pharmaceutical safety that addresses physical, chemical, and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. HACCP is used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards, so that key actions, known as Critical Control Points (CCPs) can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazards being realized. The system is used at all stages of food production and preparation processes including packaging, distribution, etc. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) say that their mandatory HACCP programs for juice and meat are an effective approach to food safety and protecting public health. Meat HACCP systems are regulated by the USDA, while seafood and juice are regulated by the FDA. The use of HACCP is currently voluntary in other food industries.
An early form HACCP was developed in the form of production process monitoring during World War II because traditional "end of the pipe" testing wasn't an efficient way to ferret out artillery shells that would not explode. HACCP itself was conceived in the 1960s when the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) asked Pillsbury to design and manufacture the first foods for space flights. Since then, HACCP has been recognized internationally as a logical tool for adapting traditional inspection methods to a modern, science-based, food safety system. Based on risk-assessment, HACCP plans allow both industry and government to allocate their resources efficiently in establishing and auditing safe food production practices. In 1994, the International HACCP Alliance was established initially for the US meat and poultry industries to assist them with implementing HACCP and now its membership has been spread over other professional/industrial areas.
HACCP has been increasingly applied to industries other than food, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. This method, which in effect seeks to plan out unsafe practices, differs from traditional "produce and test" quality control methods which are less successful and inappropriate for highly perishable foods. In the US, HACCP compliance is regulated by 21 CFR120-123. Similarly, FAO/WHO published a guideline for all governments to handle the issue in small and less developed food businesses.