What is the Difference between HACCP and HARPC?

As a food manufacturer, there is an overarching responsibility to your customers to provide safe food products. It’s not just about producing a convenient, tasty, or affordable food; it’s about making sure that item is safe for consumption. Over the years, the federal government has changed the way it deals with food production and its approach to food safety. There are several regulations that govern food safety, such as FSMA, HACCP, HARPC, and PC Rule (all covered below), and it’s important to understand the difference and how they work together to create best practices in food safety.

Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration enacted the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which impacts food manufacturers in the United States. In response to the growing number of food-related illnesses, the FDA now focuses on preventing food safety problems, instead of just responding to them and their widespread impact.

You may have experience with HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) hazard identification using a Critical Control Point (CCP) decision tree analysis. Although a useful tool, CCP decision tree analysis is not a replacement for the risk assessment and probability requirements in FSMA’s Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. HACCP is a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation and control of food safety hazards. The new FSMA rules do not replace HACCP or other regulations. The Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule (hereafter referred to as the PC Rule) requires enhanced hazard and risk analysis along with other components in a preventive controls food safety plan.

HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) is an acronym that refers to the principles you must learn and apply to your environment to comply with FSMA’s PC Rule. This new requirement means food manufacturers that register with the FDA must have a plan in place to control and prevent food safety issues. This means HARPC is not a technical term used by the FDA, but it is often used as a memory aid in understanding the changes between HACCP and the new enhanced requirements for hazard analysis, risk analysis and the full preventive controls food safety plan.

How Does All This Work Together?

The full preventive controls food safety plan required by FSMA’s PC rule, must include all components and have someone responsible for developing, maintaining and documenting each facility’s plan. Subsequently, each facility must have a PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual) trained in this new role.

Very simply, the primary difference between HACCP and HARPC is their intents. While HACCP aims at identifying and controlling contamination, HARPC adds that manufacturers must have a plan in place to prevent contamination and other issues. The Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule specifically mandates that each facility must have its own safety plan and must have a PCQI on staff to manage the plan. The PCQI should then regularly monitor and update the plan.

How ImEPIK Can Help

The FDA requires that a standardized curriculum be used for PCQI training. The ImEPIK PCQI Course provides the alternative online training for the role of PCQI as allowed in the PC Rule. The designated PCQI must be able to prove that they have the necessary knowledge and training to do the job of creating a food safety plan and executing and monitoring this plan. One way to do this is to document training with our completion certificate.

ImEPIK’s PCQI Course allows you to learn, practice and apply the HARPC principles to your environment. At the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of hazard and risk analysis and how to create a food safety plan, print a certificate of completion, and understand a Preventive Control Qualified Individual’s responsibilities. While the rules only require one PCQI per facility, many companies choose to have more than one PCQI in the event of turnover or to support the PCQI in maintaining and documenting the plan.

Getting started is easy and the PCQI course takes an estimated 20 hours as required by the FDA standardized curriculum. ImEPIK’s PCQI Course is self-paced and completely online. To learn more about and register, visit ImEPIK’s online course page.

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