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History of HACCP

In the 1960's, the Pillsbury Corporation developed the HACCP control system with NASA to ensure food safety for the first manned space missions

The HACCP system and guidelines for its application were defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This Commission implements the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and World Health Organisation (WHO) Food Standards Programme

Following an outbreak of E. coli 0157 in Scotland in 1996, the Pennington Report recommended that HACCP be adopted by all food businesses to ensure food safety

The BRC Global Standard Version 5 has specific requirements for the incorporation of HACCP into Company Food Safety Management Systems

Effective HACCP is invaluable in supporting any due diligence defence, and will enhance good manufacturing practice





The European Product Liability Directive (1985) introduced a burden of proof on manufacturers in respect of defences of defective product. It was noted that if best practices are not followed,then manufacturers would be unlikely to make successful defences in the event of liability claims

The Food Safety Act 1990 states that it is an offence to:

  • sell food which does not comply with food safety requirements
  • render food injurious to health
  • sell food which is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded

The Act describes a legal defence of 'due diligence', which enables someone to be acquitted of an offence if they can prove that they took 'all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing that offence.' Offences under the Act are liable to penalties of prison sentences of up to 2 years and/or unlimited fines

The EC Food Hygiene Directive (93/43/EEC) requires that food businesses assess and control potential food hazards on the basis of principles used to develop HACCP

The Food Safety Regulations state that a proprietor of a food business shall identify any step in the activities of the business which is critical to ensuring food safety on the basis of the principles:

  • analysis of potential food hazards
  • identification of the points where food hazards may occur
  • decide which points are critical to ensuring food safety
  • implement effective control & monitoring at Critical Control Points
  • review periodically, and whenever food operations change


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