The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) introduced a plethora of new regulations, all designed to decrease incidents of foodborne illness. One of the main components of FSMA is the implementation of Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Control (HARPC).
HARPC has a lot of similarities to the previous standards, known as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). Both methods, for example, require facilities to assess the risk of contamination when utilizing their current processes. However, HARPC focuses on what measures can be taken to prevent the spread of pathogens, while HACCP applies a more reactive approach. Additionally, HACCP is a regulatory standard, while HARPC is a formal law.
Under the new policy, food manufacturers, processors, packers, and storage facilities are required to do the following:
- Identify food safety and adulteration hazards associated with their current processes and protocol
- Implement methods to minimize any hazards
- Periodically verify that the methods are working
- Create corrective actions to address any deviations from the updated food safety plan
An organization's plan to prevent foodborne illness cannot be a blanket policy for all locations. Although each branch can utilize the same policies as a starting point, the HARPC plan must be tailored to the individual facility it will be implemented at. Moreover, all protocol must be properly documented and meet the FDA’s standards and definitions surrounding controls, hazards, facilities, and the adulteration of foods and beverages.