Over the last decade there has been as gradual shift in emphasis in the way in which drinking water supply systems have been managed. While it remains universally accepted that monitoring water quality in a water supply system is important for assuring safe and aesthetically acceptable drinking water, there has been a growing awareness that delivering this requires the application of considered risk management and applying appropriate barriers to control risk.
- How is Risk Management related to HACCP?
Risk Management is all about understanding what can go wrong, taking appropriate steps to reduce the potential for problems and being prepared for when things do go wrong.
HACCP is a preventative risk management system which can be applied to drinking water supply systems. Its objective is to identify hazards that exist or can develop, evaluate their risk and implement measures for their control.
- Where did HACCP originate and how widespresd is it?
HACCP was originally conceived in the United States during the late 1950's by the National Aeronautics and Space Adminsitration (NASA), the Pillsbury Company and the United States Army. Its original application was to assure the safety of food produced for manned space missions.
Since its original development it has gradually become the most widely adopted certifiable program for assuring food safety and is now widespread throughout the United States, Europe and parts of Australia.
- When did HACCP develop in the water industry?
Due to the analogies with food production, application of HACCP to drinking water production was proposed by researchers during the mid 1990's.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality follow key elements of HACCP for improving water process control through the use of risk assessment and quality management tools.
- What are the basic principles of the HACCP approach?
The HACCP approach is based on seven principles aimed at identifying hazards, controlling hazards at critical control points in the process, and verifying that the system is working properly (i.e., due diligence program). The key element of the HACCP system is its preventive nature, meaning that potential safety hazards are controlled throughout the process. The seven basic principles of HACCP are:
- Identify the hazards and list preventive measures to control them.
- Determine the critical control points.
- Establish limits at each critical control point.
- Establish procedures to monitor the critical control points.
- Establish corrective action to be taken in case of a deviation.
- Establish procedures to verify that the systems are working properly.
- Establish effective record keeping.
Hazard Analysis (HA) - is the first principle and starting point of HACCP. Hazards can arise at any stage of production, from source, through treatment and on through distribution. Proper identification and analysis of hazards are central to the hazard analysis process.
Critical Control Point (CCP) - is a point or step in the process at which control can be applied and a hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level. Determining the CCPs required to control identified hazards is the second major principle of HACCP. CCPs are located at any point in the process where microbiologic, physical and chemical hazards can be eliminated or appropriately controlled.
It is very important that CCPs be developed and documented carefully. The success of controlling hazards depends on the care taken in determining the CCPs, the critical limits that must be met at each point, the monitoring procedures used to control each CCP and the corrective action taken when there is a deviation identified at a CCP. Verification of each CCP will ensure that monitoring procedures are in place and are effective in controlling the potential hazard.
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