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Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point

New Technology for Seafood Inspection

The seafood industry is very supportive of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) seafood inspection program based on the principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP, pronounced "hass-ip") system. This new program was implemented December 18, 1997, making seafood the first food to use this innovative inspection program recommended by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences-on an industry-wide basis.

The benefits of a HACCP inspection program are centered around its proactive approach to food safety. HACCP identifies potential hazards which could occur in the processing and handling of food and requires that measures be established to prevent such food safety hazards from occurring. Critical control points are established to closely monitor those aspects of the process which could result in a hazard should a breakdown in the system occur. When monitoring indicates a possible problem, corrective action must be taken. This approach contrasts with traditional inspection programs which typically look at products after they have gone through the processing stage.

Records must be kept by companies on their monitoring of the critical control points. These are reviewed on a regular basis by FDA inspectors to verify that proper controls are being maintained. These records give the inspectors a historical perspective on conditions at the facility. They can examine records going back to the most recent inspection-compared to current procedures where inspectors can only verify what is going on at the time of the actual inspection.

HACCP was developed by the Pillsbury Company in 1959 for use by the NASA space program. There are private companies that have used a HACCP-based inspection program for several years, including some commercial seafood companies operating under a voluntary U.S. Department of Commerce program and canned food businesses such as those that can tuna and salmon.

The seafood industry believes that the HACCP inspection system provides consumers with even safer and more wholesome seafood products than ever before.

Our current HACCP document is here.