HACCP was developed in the late 1950s, but changes continue to be made to simplify the process, making it easier to implement and maintain. But it wasn’t until the late 1980s when the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Food (ICMSF) released a HACCP publication outlining hazard analysis.
The publication also identified the initial concept of prerequisite programs, which were critical to implementing a successful HACCP plan. Now, prerequisite programs, such as Good Manufacturing Practices, are the foundation of HACCP and were classified as an essential part of the food safety system in 1998.
Prerequisite programs deal with housekeeping concerns, laying the groundwork for an effective HACCP plan, while reducing the likelihood of hazards from occurring. However, to continue supporting hazard analysis, prerequisite programs must be maintained, failure to do so can result in noncompliance.
Here are some common practices that fall under prerequisite programs, but keep in mind, not all facilities will implement the same practices.
- Cleaning & Sanitation
- Personal Hygiene
- Supplier Control
- Pest Control
As stated in 9 CFR 417.2, facilities must provide all documentation for all prerequisite programs, including records and results supporting their HACCP plan. When conducting an inspection, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) expects documentation of the program’s procedures and operational controls in writing. These required documents will help explain the preventative measures in place to prevent a specific hazard from occurring.
According to FSIS Directive 5000.2, the facility’s inspection program personnel are required to review testing and prerequisite program records at least once per week. The results may impact the decision-making behind the facility’s hazard analysis as referenced in their HACCP plan.
HACCP is defined as systematic approach to the identification, evaluation, and control of food safety hazards. In order, to implement an effective HACCP plan, prerequisite programs are needed to provide the basic environmental and operating conditions necessary to ensure the production of safe, quality foods. Prerequisite programs make it easier to create a HACCP plan, allowing more time to focus on specific hazards introduced throughout the production process. Although certain aspects of prerequisite programs may be incorporated into a HACCP plan, they must be established and managed separately.