Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCP (pronounced “hassip”), is a prevention-based food safety system that involves identifying potential problems throughout the processing of a food product, and then determining and monitoring safety practices to avoid those problems. HACCP systems are designed to prevent the occurrence of potential food safety problems such as foreign objects or harmful levels of pathogenic bacteria.

In addition, HACCP systems involve planning for recalls in situations where the monitoring reveals that a safety practice has not been followed.

HACCP plans are officially required for the handling or processing of meat and poultry, seafood, and juice. For foods outside of those categories HACCP is not required, though it is recommended. The upcoming requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (or FSMA, pronounced “fizma”) are modeled after the preventive approach of HACCP and its emphasis on monitoring and documentation.

Completion of standardized, FDA-approved HACCP training may not be mandatory IF the individual writing the plan is “otherwise qualified through job experience to perform these functions. Job experience may qualify an individual to perform these functions if such experience has provided knowledge at least equivalent to that provided through the standardized curriculum.”