The Commission has just published a report on the state of implementation of HACCP in the EU and areas for improvement.
Procedures based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles are mandatory for most business operators placing food or feed on the EU market. They are essential to put in place, implement and maintain a food safety management system, protecting consumers from hazards.
The report looks at the implementation of HACCP across Member States and concludes that the experience of Food and Feed Business Operators with HACCP has been generally positive. There is overall agreement on the importance and benefits of implementing Food and Feed safety management systems based on HACCP principles.
In all Member States there is an adequate level of implementation of HACCP-based procedures. National control systems check on the implementation of HACCP-based systems on an on-going basis. However, there is room for improvement. The project has identified seven key areas where challenges exist. In particular, two factors give rise to inconsistencies of interpretation and implementation:
• some of the HACCP principles are not always well understood, particularly by small FBOs, and
• national frameworks for implementing HACCP-based systems vary between Member States and within sectors.
The report contains a range of examples of good practices already being implemented in Member States which could be used as a basis for improvement in these areas.
There is much common ground between official and stakeholder bodies on the main areas where improvements could be made. There is an eagerness to work together to resolve these difficulties for the benefit of all consumers in the EU and beyond.
The report includes a work-programme for a better implementation of HACCP to be implemented at EU level, by the Member States, by stakeholder organisations and by FBOs. It is envisaged that progress at each level can be achieved in parallel.
For its part, the Commission has already initiated discussions with Member State experts on a revision of the existing EU guidance documents in HACCP to improve understanding of the HACCP principles. Ongoing and planned Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) activities related to HACCP will be adapted accordingly.