Industry standards are the foundation of a company’s food safety plan and set a company on the path to HACCP or equivalent certification.
There are three main industry standards:
1. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
GMPs are the minimum requirements to be met by all food processors. GMPs ensure that the handling, storage, processing, packaging, labeling, testing and distribution of ingredients and of finished food products comply with all regulatory requirements and that the products do not place consumers at risk due to inadequate safety, sanitary and quality standards. GMPs are meant to ensure that products are consistently produced and controlled to the quality standards appropriate to their intended use.
2. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
A SOP is a written document specifying a series of actions to take at various points in a production process. It includes step-by-step procedural and work instructions. A SOP is used to achieve compliance with regulations and to document standard operating practice in the plant. A SOP provides individuals with the information needed to perform a task properly and facilitates consistency in the safety and integrity of a product or end-result.
3. Prerequisite Programs
Prerequisite programs are developed and implemented prior to developing HACCP plans. These programs are necessary in order to assist in controlling the likelihood of introducing food safety hazards to the product through the work environment and operational practices. The prerequisite programs must be documented and updated whenever there are changes associated with the prerequisite programs and reassessed at least annually.