Everyone has no doubt heard of HACCP – or “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points”. This food-safety program has been around since NASA sent astronauts into space in the 1960s.
Most food businesses in Australia need to devise a food-safety program based on HACCP principles if they want to get on the supermarket shelves or into consumers’ hands.
But what about VACCP and TACCP?
These newer acronyms – which are explained below – have entered into food-safety jargon because of the increasing threat of food fraud.
Food fraud is a significant threat to all food businesses and is having a substantial impact on global consumer trust.
With every headline-grabbing incident, the pressure is mounting for retailers, suppliers and manufacturers to do everything they can to ensure the safety and provenance of their food.
This is just one reason why all three food-safety programs are critical.
So, which plans do you need for your business?
Read on to understand the food-safety plans and standards required by Australia’s major retailers, and how they can help you fight food fraud.
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Quick background to understanding food-safety programs
Around the world there are organisations whose primary focus is on food safety and food-fraud prevention. They develop standards, regulations and business certifications to reduce food-safety risks.
One of these is the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI); it created the world’s most widely known benchmarking document for food-safety requirements. Companies can be GFSI certified by undertaking one of its recognised food-safety and security-certification programs, including:
- British Royal Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety, which specifies food safety, quality and operational criteria required within a food-manufacturing organisation
- Safety Quality Food (SQF) scheme, which focuses on food auditing and meeting the needs of the entire supply chain and its food-fraud prevention strategies
As part of the worldwide food-safety standards, including GFSI and BRC, companies need to develop HACCP, TACCP or VACCP Food Safety Plans in order to achieve full compliance.
Each of these programs focuses on a different aspect of food safety.
HACCP stands for “Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points”, and is a systematic approach to food safety designed to prevent or minimise the risk of unintentionalcontamination of food.It was originally created by NASA in the 1960s to ensure the safety of astronauts’ food. Today, it is required by most food businesses as outlined in Standard 3.2.1 of the Food Standards Code. You need a HACCP food plan if you supply to major retailers, including Coles.
VACCP stands for “Vulnerability Assessment Critical Control Points”. This plan identifies vulnerabilities for food businesses around food fraud, such as counterfeiting, adulteration, smuggling, stolen goods, dilution and mislabelling. The plan covers how to identify and control these vulnerabilities, and requires you to “think like criminals”.
TACCP stands for “Threat Assessment Critical Control Points”, which focuses on threats performed for ideological reasons, rather than economic reasons. We’re talking here about threats such as intentional contamination of food products, sabotage of the supply chain, or even the use of food or drink for terrorism or criminal intent.
So which food-safety program do you need?
HACCP, VACCP and TACCP all work towards the same goal: to help businesses identify potential areas in their supply chain where food risks and fraud can occur, and ways to prevent, eliminate, or reduce the likelihood of this occurring.
However, while they have similarities and overlaps, they are not the same. HACCP is not designed to address intentionalacts of contamination – only those which are unintentional. That’s why TACCP and VACCP were developed and why manufacturers need to them.
Here’s the important part: while VACCP and TACCP standards are not (yet) an Australian legal requirement, some of major retailers – such as Coles –make it mandatory for businesses to have a VACCP and TACCP Food Safety Plan in place before their good are stocked on supermarket shelves.
In other words, it just makes good business sense.
Using the three food & beverage management systems correctly will help you ensure the safety of your products from both intentional and unintentional contamination, while building trust among your trading partners and consumers. What could be more important than that?
In part two, we’ll cover the technology and processes you need to effectively implement these food-safety programs, including serialisation and laser technology.
Can’t wait until then? Speak to our team today to find out which technology solutions are right for you.
Image credits: iStock/ Aquir (main); Quality Assurance & Food Safety (2nd)