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New changes to Codex HACCP now in force

On September 25, 2020, the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted the revised Code of Practice (General Principles of Food Hygiene (CXC 1-1969) and its HACCP annex). In this article, find out about some of the changes that may impact your food business.

Purpose of the Code

In an update this code of practice provides a common ground for the control of food safety worldwide and forms the basis for all other Codex hygiene texts and standards. The revision includes updates which will enable better application by food business operators, competent authorities and other stakeholders.

The code also provides more guidance on the important health issue of allergens which complements the adoption of a new Codex code of practice on allergen management. This revision helps countries maintain a continued safe supply of food at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to reinforce good hygiene practices.

Structure of Codex HACCP 2020

The revised Codex HACCP consists of:

  • Introduction
  • Objectives
  • Scope
  • Use
    • General
    • Roles of Competent Authorities, Food Business Operators, and Consumers
  • General Principles
    • Management Commitment to Food Safety
  • Definitions
  • Chapter 1 which describes Good Hygiene Practices
  • Chapter 2 which describes HACCP and guidelines for its application
  • Annex 1 which provides a comparison of control measures applied as GHPs and those applied at Critical Control Points (CCPs) with examples.
  • Diagram 1 – Logic Sequence for Application of HACCP
  • Diagram 2 – Example of Hazard Analysis worksheet

What has changed from the previous Codex HACCP version?

1. Definitions

The definitions section in Codex HACCP 2020 has been greatly expanded. As an example, there are new definitions included for acceptable level, competent authority, food hygiene system, good hygiene practices (GHPs) and prerequisite programme.

The definition of ‘validation’ has been removed and replaced with ‘validation of control measures’. The action of validating a control measure requires ensuring that the control measure selected is actually capable of controlling an identified hazard.

2. Using the Codex Decision Tree

An example of a decision tree to identify CCPs (commonly known as the Codex CCP Decision Tree) documented in the previous 2003 version has not been included at this stage. However, Codex HACCP 2020 still makes reference to using a decision tree or other approach to identify critical control points (CCPs).

Work on the decision tree to identify critical control points (CCPs) will continue in Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) so that once completed it could be included in the General Principles of Food Hygiene (GPFH) as an annex.

3. Training and Competence

The section on training and competence has been strengthened. There have been additional elements that are required to be taken into account when determining the extent of training required.  Training should include:

  • The use and maintenance of instruments and equipment associated with food
  • The principles of food hygiene
  • Control measures to prevent contaminants in food
  • Good hygiene practices
  • Corrective actions

If staff have direct customer interaction, for example in food service or retail operations, product knowledge training is recommended. Refresher training has also been enhanced to include all personnel associated with the food business, not just food handlers. There is also a new requirement for record-keeping.

4. Food Safety Culture

One of the most significant changes is the inclusion of Food Safety Culture, which can be found in the section titled Management Commitment to Food Safety.

Fundamental to the successful functioning of any food hygiene system is the establishment and maintenance of a positive food safety culture acknowledging the importance of human behaviour in providing safe and suitable food.

5. Lot Identification and Traceability

The requirement for a traceability/product tracing system is a new requirement noted in Codex HACCP 2020.

Ing. Chimico e Alimentare Camila Schiavinatto Godoy

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