HACCP and HARPC – What’s the Difference?
We’re pleased to welcome Robert Rogers for another guest blog…
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) are often discussed interchangeably. If you ask a food processor to explain the differences between the two however, the answer may not come so easily.
While HACCP is a well-known global standard, HARPC is relatively new. Before we look at the programmes in more detail, it’s important to mention that some manufacturers are exempt from HARPC requirements.
Generally speaking, since HARPC is a requirement within the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), facilities under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) jurisdiction handling or processing meat, poultry, pork and eggs are exempt. Likewise, facilities subjected to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new standards for Produce Safety Authorities are also exempt – this applies to farms, growers, harvesters and companies handling raw fresh fruits and vegetables. Another exemption is for facilities subjected to the rules of the FDA’s Seafood and Juice HACCP regulations, as well as businesses defined as ‘small’ or ‘very small’.
HACCP is a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation and control of food safety hazards based on the following seven principles:
- Conduct a hazard analysis
- Identify critical control points (CCPs)
- Establish critical limits for each CCP
- Establish CCP monitoring requirements
- Establish corrective actions
- Establish verification procedures to confirm the HACCP system is working effectively
- Establish record-keeping procedures
Unlike HACCP, HARCP isn’t a global standard. It’s an updated U.S. standard which was incorporated into the FSMA in July 2012. The similarities between HACCP and HARPC include the requirement for conducting a hazard analysis, implementing controls, monitoring and corrective action.
HARPC mandates that facilities:
- Conduct a thorough hazard analysis for all food-processing procedures
- Develop and implement preventive controls, and then monitor the controls’ effectiveness
- Provide a detailed written plan, describing how the hazards will be controlled, the preventive controls established, and a schedule and methodology for monitoring the efficiency of the controls
- Verify the effectiveness of the controls and maintain written records of the verification processes
- Reanalyse the HARCP plan at least every three years – more often as new product lines are added, equipment is changed or upgraded, and/or when other changes require a new analysis
If you’re a food processor with an effective HARPC plan in place you’ll also be in compliance with HACCP mandates. If, however, you currently function under HACCP guidelines, it’s your responsibility to determine whether you must comply with HARPC under the FSMA.