Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, widely known as HACCP is a set of principles providing a systematic preventive approach for the management of food safety, from biological, physical and chemical hazards relevant to production or assembly processes that can lead to unsafe finished product, as well as design measurements to reduce these risks to a safe level.
HACCP allows the recognition, control and prevention of those hazards, and aims at eliminating incidents of food poisoning, illness, consumption of unsafe food or drinks, or the encounter of unwanted substances or foreign bodies.
The IFS Food Standard is a GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) globally recognized standard for auditing food manufacturers and for certifying the safety and quality of food products and production processes. It also helps to improve the understanding of quality and safety processes across an organization and throughout the entire supply chain, providing standards that deliver uniformity and transparency. It concerns food processing companies and companies that pack loose food products.
IFS Food applies when products are “processed” or when there is a hazard for product contamination during primary packing. The Standard is important for all food manufacturers, especially for those producing private labels, as it contains many requirements related to the compliance with customer specifications.
Τhe British Retail Consortium (BRC) has developed and introduced the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety for companies supplying retailer branded food products. The standard was developed to assist retailers in their fulfilment of legal obligations and protection of the consumer. It provides a common basis for the audit of companies supplying retailer branded food products.
The benefit of the BRC Global Standard is the reduction of the number of food safety audits which allows technologists to concentrate on other areas, such as product development, or specific quality issues. Although the BRC food safety standard began in the UK, it is now recognized as a global standard.
Similarly, BRC's Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Material is addressed to companies that manufacture food packaging or materials, to be used in the manufacturing of food packaging, while BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution is addressed to companies dealing with the storage and distribution of goods.
GMP refers to the Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations published by the US Food and Drug Administration. A GMP is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. GMPs are designed and implemented in a range of companies from pharmaceutical production to food businesses.
GMP rules cover all aspects of staff training in the production cycle, audit and storage, as well as the appropriateness of premises, equipment, raw and packaging. These rules also address waste management, subcontracting, customer complaints and returns. For proper implementation, there must be documented procedures to be followed at all stages of production.