The American Society for Quality offers its members, and the public at large, the opportunity to be recognized as a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) auditor. This opportunity is restricted to those individuals who already possess an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor designation, but this is one of the first publicly available programs available for HACCP specialists.
The HACCP program is intended to instill product safety through risk analysis, planning, process development, monitoring, verification, corrective action, and record keeping. It is widely used by companies regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (food, drugs, medical devices) and by agricultural regulatory bodies. The value of HACCP is that through a planned process, safety attributes are designed and incorporated into the product. This approach is superior and far more cost-effective than the traditional methods of inspecting safety into a product.
As a science-based practice, HACCP addresses the physical, chemical, biochemical, or combined characteristics of a product, its inputs, and its interactions. By knowing and anticipating the causes and effects of safety hazards, a HACCP plan can address the hazards early in the process and maintain the safe, sterile, and sanitary conditions of the product.
HACCP is focused on product safety, rather than product quality, making it useful for addressing energy and environmental (E&E) issues. Product release is not determined by customer tastes but by scientific evidence that the hazards are adequately addressed The following are some examples of why HACCP (or a program similar to HACCP) should be considered for E&E concerns:
- E&E deliverables contain physical, chemical, and biological hazards, which need to be addressed through a systematic, science-based program.
- E&E deliverables have risks and hazards that may not be revealed through immediate inspection.
- Operators handling E&E deliverables must be continuously monitoring the products for hazards or out-of-control processes.
- Deficiencies must be immediately corrected using predetermined methods to address the problems and restore safety.
The plan or system to address product safety must be capable of being integrated into a company-wide management system and must be capable of modification to address new products or new hazards.
HACCP provides many benefits, but it is dependent on "prerequisite programs," including an established and maintained quality system, employee training, sanitation plan, and control mechanisms for tracking and tracing materials, components, products, and documentation.
I encourage professionals in this field to add HACCP to their portfolio of competency and to consider incorporating HACCP into their management systems.