Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Advantages of HACCP

FDA is recommending the implementation of HACCP in food establishments because it is a system of preventive controls that is the most effective and efficient way to ensure that food products are safe. A HACCP system will emphasize the industry's role in continuous problem solving and prevention rather than relying solely on periodic facility inspections by regulatory agencies.

HACCP offers two additional benefits over conventional inspection techniques. First, it clearly identifies the food establishment as the final party responsible for ensuring the safety of the food it produces. HACCP requires the food establishment to analyze its preparation methods in a rational, scientific manner in order to identify critical control points and to establish critical limits and monitoring procedures. A vital aspect of the establishment's responsibility is to establish and maintain records that document adherence to the critical limits that relate to the identified critical control points, thus resulting in continuous self-inspection. Secondly, a HACCP system allows the regulatory agency to more comprehensively determine an establishment's level of compliance. A food establishment's use of HACCP requires development of a plan to prepare safe food. This plan must be shared with the regulatory agency because it must have access to CCP monitoring records and other data necessary to verify that the HACCP plan is working. Using conventional inspection techniques, an agency can only determine conditions during the time of inspection which provide a "snapshot" of conditions at the moment of the inspection. However, by adopting a HACCP approach, both current and past conditions can be determined. When regulatory agencies review HACCP records, they have, in effect, a look back through time. Therefore, the regulatory agency can better ensure that processes are under control.

Traditional inspection is relatively resource-intensive and inefficient and is reactive rather than preventive compared to the HACCP approach for ensuring food safety. Regulatory agencies are challenged to find new approaches to food safety that enable them to become more focused and efficient and to minimize costs wherever possible. Thus, the advantages of HACCP-based inspections are becoming increasingly acknowledged by the regulatory community.

Examples of the successful implementation of HACCP by food establishments may be found throughout the food industry. During the past several years, FDA and a number of state and local jurisdictions have worked with two national voluntary pilot projects for retail food stores and restaurants. These projects involved more than 20 food establishments and demonstrated that HACCP is a viable and practical option to improve food safety. FDA believes that HACCP concepts have matured to the point at which they can be formally implemented for all food products on an industry-wide basis.

taken from: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fc01-a5.html



she's full (: | 5:46 AM|

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HACCP - its importance

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is a systematic approach in identifying, evaluating and controlling food safety hazards. Food safety hazards are biological, chemical or physical agents that are reasonably likely to cause illness or injury int he absence of their control. A HACCP system is a preventive system of hazard control rather than a reactive one. HACCP systems are designed to prevent the occurrence of potential food safety problems. This is achieved by assessing the inherent hazards attributable to a product or a process, determining the necessary steps that will control the identified hazards, and implementing active managerial control practices to ensure that the hazards are eliminated or minimized.

Essentially, HACCP is a system that identifies and monitors specific foodborne hazards - biological, chemical, or physical properties - that can adversely affect the safety of the food product. This hazard analysis serves as the basis for establishing critical control points (CCPs). CCPs identify those points in the process that must be controlled to ensure the safety of the food. Further, critical limits are established that document the appropriate parameters that must be met at each CCP. Monitoring and verification steps are included in the system, again, to ensure that potential hazards are controlled. The hazard analysis, critical control points, critical limits, and monitoring and verification steps are documented in a HACCP plan. Seven principles have been developed which provide guidance on the development of an effective HACCP plan.

HACCP represents an important food protection tool supported by Standard Operating Procedures, employee training and other prerequisite programs that small independent businesses as well as national companies can implement to achieve active managerial control of hazards associated with foods. Employee training is key to successful implementation. Employees must learn which control points are critical in an operation and what the critical limits are at these points, for each preparation step they perform. Establishment management must also follow through by routinely monitoring the food operation to verify that employees are keeping the process under control by complying with the critical limits.

taken from: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fc01-a5.html



she's full (: | 5:43 AM|

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Thursday, May 17, 2007
Microbiological Risks in Food

Foodborne illness caused by microorganisms is a large and growing public health problem. Most countries with systems for reporting cases of foodborne illness have documented significant increases over the past few decades in the incidence of diseases caused by microorganisms in food, including pathogens such as Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli, and parasites such as cryptosporidium, cryptospora, trematodes.

Approximately 1.8 million children in developing countries (excluding China) died from diarrhoeal disease in 1998, caused by microbiological agents, mostly originating from food and water. One person in three in industrialized countries may be affected by foodborne illness each year. In the USA, some 76 million cases of foodborne illness, resulting in 325 000 hospitalizations and 5000 deaths, are estimated to occur each year. There are only limited data on the economic consequences of food contamination and foodborne disease. In studies in the USA in 1995, it was estimated that the annual cost of the 3.3-12 million cases of foodborne illness caused by seven pathogens was US $6.5-35 billion. The medical costs and the value of the lives lost during just five foodborne outbreaks in England and Wales in 1996 were estimated at UK£ 300-700 million. The cost of the estimated 11 500 daily cases of food poisoning in Australia was calculated at AU$ 2.6 billion annually. The increased incidence of foodborne disease due to microbiological hazards is the result of a multiplicity of factors, all associated with our fast-changing world. Demographic profiles are being altered, with increasing proportions of people who are more susceptible to microorganisms in food. Changes in farm practices, more extensive food distribution systems and the increasing preference for meat and poultry in developing countries all have the potential to increase the incidence of foodborne illness. Extensive food distribution systems raise the potential for rapid, widespread distribution of contaminated food products. Changes in food production result in new types of food that may harbour less common pathogens. Intensive animal husbandry technologies, introduced to minimize production costs, have led to the emergence of new zoonotic diseases, which affect humans. Safe disposal of manure from large-scale animal and poultry production facilities is a growing food safety problem in much of the world, as manure frequently contains pathogens.

Changes in eating patterns, such as a preference for fresh and minimally processed foods, the increasingly longer interval between processing and consumption of foods and the increasing prevalence of eating food prepared outside the home all contribute to the increased incidences of foodborne illness ascribed to microbiological organisms. The emergence of new pathogens and pathogens not previously associated with food is a major public health concern. E. coli O157:H7 was identified for the first time in 1979 and has subsequently caused illness and deaths (especially among children) owing to its presence in ground beef, unpasteurized apple cider, milk, lettuce, alfalfa and other sprouts, and drinking-water in several countries. Salmonella typhimurium DT104 has developed resistance to five commonly prescribed antibiotics and is a major concern in many countries because of its rapid spread during the 1990s.

These changes in microbiological hazards in foods have been recognized by the World Health Assembly and by Codex. The 22nd session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the 45th Codex Executive Committee requested FAO and WHO to convene an international expert advisory body similar to the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) on the microbiological aspects of food safety to address in particular microbiological risk assessment. The results of these risk assessments will provide the scientific basis for measures to reduce illness from microbiological hazards in foods.

Effective management of microbiological hazards is enhanced through the use of tools such as Microbiological Risk Assessment (MRA) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems. Sound microbiological risk assessment provides an understanding of the nature of the hazard, and is a tool to set priorities for interventions. HACCP is a tool for process control through the identification of critical control points. The ultimate goal is improvement of public health, and both MRA and HACCP are means to that end.

taken from: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/micro/general/en/index.html



she's full (: | 6:14 AM|

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Sunday, May 13, 2007
POSSIBLE MICROBIOLOGICAL HAZARDS IN VEGETABLES & FRUITS


-C. jejuni – mushrooms
-Salmonella spp. – artichoke, cabbage, fennel, spinach
-St. aureus – lettuce, parsely, radish
-L. monocytogenes – potatoes, radishes, bean sprouts, cabbage, cucumber
-Shigella spp.
-E. coli – celery, coriander
-Y. enterocolitica – vegetables
-hydrophila - broccoli
-Cryptosporidium, parasite (juice/cider and produce)
-Cyclospora, parasite (produce)
-Escherichia coli O157:H7 (juice/cider and produce)
-Norwalk Virus (produce)
-Salmonella (juice and produce)
-Shigella (produce)
-Listeria monocytogenes
-Salmonella spp.
-Shigella spp.
-enteropathogenic strains of Escherichia coli
-hepatitis A virus


DUE TO:

-Release of plant cellular fluids when chopped or shredded
-High moisture content
-Lack of lethal process to destroy pathogens & microbes present if consumed raw
-Temperature abuse during preparation, distribution and handling



she's full (: | 5:20 AM|

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