One way to determine both the drawbacks and benefits of combining HACCP and ISO is to formulate risk analysis, which involves management, assessment and communications. These three aspects help to clarify the picture of risks and benefits involved with what is being proposed. In this article, risk management and assessment factors will be examined. In future articles, risk communication of using both ISO and HACCP in the same poultry system will be examined in further detail.
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Explore this issueFebruary/March 2006
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Risk management is a tool that is used to weigh the cost and benefits of various programs. Risk management is intertwined with risk assessment and risk communication in order to provide the best measurement of implementation or shelving a particular program. The program in question seeks to combine HACCP and ISO standards. The next step is to ask “Is the risk worth the cost?” from a risk management point of view. Before risk management, risk assessment must be considered.
In this case, poultry plants are being considered. This involves slaughter and processing operations; the inflow of personnel whether from the industry production or government point of view; the use and maintenance of machinery; volume and type of production; inspection services rendered; sanitation issues; employee training, including hygiene and handling of product especially once exiting the chilling system; and, finally, how product is handled once in processing areas and in the freezers and coolers.
It is important to consider the history of the extent to which an establishment has gone and will go in order to 1) implement the reduction of pathogens and other hazards, and 2) verify hazard and pathogen reduction.
How are these measures qualified and quantified? What tests are done so that physical hazards and chemical hazards are minimized? What records of such testing demonstrate this control of one’s process and how consistent is the data? Does the establishment’s machinery reduce all three types of hazards or is the plant merely concerned with pathogen reduction, i.e., control of bacteriological hazard? Can the plant demonstrate that the physical and chemical hazards are non-existent within the operations? Is the documentation present? Is the plant’s process fluid enough to be amenable to changes within the process?
Within the mode of risk assessment, there are several steps that take place to provide the final goal of obtaining scientific information with which to base one’s decision.