Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point HACCP studies

HACCP studies are detailed procedures which are undertaken to evaluate possible safety hazards, to eliminate them where possible or to find ways of keeping them under control, and are an important part of any Good Manufacturing Practice plan. These studies are not mandatory but are a useful tool in food manufacture to demonstrate diligent care during production. HACCP studies involve the identification of Critical Control Points (CCPs) in a manufacturing process using a systematic and standard approach to hazard analysis. CCPs are those specific parts of a manufacturing process where there is a risk of contamination of a product occurring and where a specific control needs to be introduced to minimise the risk. They range from critical points in the storage of raw materials to prevent cross-contamination, to the cleaning of a particular part of a plant following production, to the use or disposal of any waste that may be produced. CCPs can be related to microbial contamination, but in this case will be discussed in relation to contamination with allergens. Once CCPs have been identified, the risks need to be detailed and the procedures developed to minimise the risks of contamination. Training, reporting and documentation of the actions taken are also part of any HACCP study, to ensure consistency in quality control for every production run.

These studies are invaluable in the control of allergens in the manufacturing environment as they give a clear indication of the risk of allergens being present in a specific product, particularly through potential cross-contamination from or to other products. Although not mandatory, HACCP studies should be undertaken on each production line and are a critical part of any Good Manufacturing Practice procedures used in a manufacturing site.

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