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Global HACCP implementation in meat producing countries
Project Code: M01030
Centre for Food Chain Research, Imperial College London
Fearne, A ; Garcia, M;
Department of Agricultural Economics and Business, University of Guelph
School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland
Collins, R; Khatri, Y;
Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, North Dakota State University, USA
Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, North Dakota State University, USA
AgResearch Limited, New Zealand
le Roux, G
Although information on HACCP implementation in meat producing countries was found to be limited, this review was able to draw some tentative conclusions:
• Two major factors have driven the adoption of HACCP systems: public regulation, in response to a plethora of food safety scares in the early 1990s, particularly the BSE crisis in the UK, and private regulation, with meat plants responding to heavy pressure from supermarkets to deliver a more satisfactory level of risk management, or at least a system that is designed to achieve pathogen reductions in the food chain.
• Cost estimates of HACCP implementation are significant, but usually modest in relation to total industry expenditure. However, they can still be high enough to impact the structure of the meat industry at the margin. Significant costs to the meat industry include those associated with staff training, devoted personnel for managing its operation and the introduction of microbial testing. These could present a major burden for SMEs given their limited financial and human resources. However, numerous benefits apparent from HACCP implementation that extend beyond improvements in plant hygiene and pathogen reduction include improved product quality, staff awareness of hygiene and food safety, reduced wastage and increased market access
• Evidence for the link between HACCP implementation and improvements in public health is extremely limited. Research in the US and Australia has shown improvements in the microbial quality of raw meat and poultry products. However, reported reductions of specific pathogenic organisms on meat and poultry carcasses do not necessarily result in a decrease in human illness due to the high likelihood of contamination at different stages in the supply chain.
• Difficulties in interpreting microbial test results for HACCP verification purposes were highlighted during the UK survey, which was carried out as part of this project. Moreover, a case is made for numerous deficiencies in the EU verification approach compared to the US. In particular the EU approach fails to specify pathogen performance standards and has no science-based performance criteria due to a lack of baseline industry pre-HACCP.
Further research would be required to understand the impact of HACCP implementation in terms of the benefits and costs. Research into factors that motivate and/or constrain HACCP implementation in the context of existing regulatory regimes and other government actions aimed at improving meat hygiene could also be undertaken.
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