HAZARD ANALYSIS CRITICAL CONTROL POINT

The HACCP system, as it applies to food safety management, uses the approach of controlling critical points in food handling to prevent food safety problems. The system, which is science-based and systematic, identifies specific hazards and measures for their control to ensure the safety of food. The HACCP system can be applied throughout the food chain from the primary producer to the consumer. Besides enhancing food safety, other benefits of applying HACCP include more effective use of resources, savings to the food industiy and more timely response to food safety problems. Application of the HACCP system can aid inspection by food control regulatory authorities and promote international trade by increasing buyers’ confidence (Powell et al., 2002).

HAZARD ANALYSIS AND THEIR CONTROL

Hazard has been defined as “A biological, chemical, or physical agent in food with the potential to cause an adverse health effect.” The hazard analysis is necessary to identify for the HACCP plan which hazards are of such a nature that their elimination or reduction to acceptable levels is essential to the production of a safe food. All biological, chemical, and physical hazards should be considered.

BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS

Foodborne biological hazards include microbiological organisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. These organisms are commonly associated with humans and with raw products entering the food establishment. The majority of reported foodborne disease outbreaks and cases are caused by pathogenic bacteria. A certain level of these microorganisms can be expected with some fruits. Salmonella and Escherichia coli 0157 are found to be present on fresh fruits and vegetables as a result of contact with animals, contamination with farm effluents through fertilization, irrigation, or flooding (FAO/WHO, 2008). These pathogenic bacteria tend to decline once introduced on fruits during their primary production (Brandi, 2004; Dreux et al., 2007; Girardin et al., 2005). Fruits are usually contaminated with yeasts, molds such as Penicillium patulum or Aspergillus clavatus and mycotoxins. Improper storage or handling of these foods can contribute to a significant increase in the level of these microorganisms. Viruses can come from food or water or can be transmitted by human, annual, or other contact. These cannot replicate in food, and can only be carried by it.

Fruits can contamination at any stages of the production chain. Proper control of refrigeration and storage time can minimize the proliferation of microorganisms. Cleaning and sanitizing, personal hygienic practices, and proper disposal of human feces and proper sewage treatment can reduce the levels of microbiological contamination. Thermal processing can safely inactivate non-spore-forming pathogens and more recently non-thermal processes such as HHP have been found to have an impact on controlling these hazards for safety as well as maintaining quality (Nguyen-The,

2012).

CHEMICAL HAZARDS

Chemical contaminants may be naturally occurring or may be added during processing or from packaging material. Harmful chemicals at high levels have been associated with acute cases of foodbome illnesses and can be responsible for chronic illness at lower levels. Chemicals like calcium carbide/ethephon and oxytocin are reportedly being used in fruit for artificial ripening and for increasing the size of fruits. The major contaminants found in fruit are pesticide residues, crop contaminants (aflatoxins, patulin, ochratoxin, etc.) naturally occurring toxic substances, and heavy metals. The pesticide residue found in fruit and vegetables includes residues of both banned (Aldrin, Chlordane, Endrin, Heptachlor, Ethyl Paration, etc.) and restricted pesticides for use in India (DDT, Endosulfan, etc.). Pesticides can leave adverse effects on the nervous system. Some harmful pesticides can cause several hazardous diseases like cancer, liver, kidney, and lung damage. Certain pesticides can also cause loss of weight and appetite, irritability, insomnia, behavioral disorder, and dennatological problems. Heavy metals are present in the irrigation water and other manures. Infested seeds, irrigation water, and soil act as the source of the fungal toxins. The control measures for chemical hazards include specifications for fruits and vendor certification that harmful chemicals or levels are not present, proper segregation of non-food chemicals during storage and handling, and control of incidental contamination from chemicals (greases, lubricants, water and steam treatment chemicals, paints).

PHYSICAL HAZARDS

Illness and injury can result from hard foreign objects in food. These physical hazards can result from contamination and/or poor practices at many points in the food chain from harvest to consumer, including those within the food establishment. These include metal fragments lost from badly maintained or damaged plant and equipment, glass from broken light fittings and windows, food containers, or the items carried into food processing areas by staff, for example, pen tops, paper clips, paper staples.

CONCLUSION

The quality and safety of fruits depend on the efforts of eveiyone involved in the supply chain from farmers who grow the food to the people who place it on the table. The concept of “from farm to fork” describes how the whole supply chain is responsible for guaranteeing food safety. For the growers, this concept translates into quality demands and efforts aimed at keeping contaminants and pesticide residues at acceptable levels. For processors, complying with the legal requirements and setting up their own strict environmental and social standards to maintain consumer safety.

KEYWORDS

  • • food hazards
  • • good agricultural practices
  • • good manufacturing practices
  • • supply chain
  • • traceability

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