HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product. The HACCP system can be used at all stages of a food chain, from food production and preparation processes including packaging, distribution, etc.
The Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture say that their mandatory HACCP programs for juice and meat are an effective approach to food safety and protecting public health. Meat HACCP systems are regulated by the USDA, while seafood and juice are regulated by the FDA. The use of HACCP is currently voluntary in other food industries. HACCP itself was conceived in the 1960s when the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration asked Pillsbury to design and manufacture the first foods for space flights. Since then, HACCP has been recognized internationally as a logical tool for adapting traditional inspection methods to a modern, science-based, food safety system. Based on risk-assessment, HACCP plans allow both industry and government to allocate their resources efficiently in establishing and auditing safe food production practices. In 1994, the organization of International HACCP Alliance was established initially for the US meat and poultry industries to assist them with implementing HACCP and now its membership has been spread over other professional and industrial areas.
HACCP has been increasingly applied to industries other than food, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. This method, which in effect seeks to plan out unsafe practices based on science, differs from traditional "produce and sort" quality control methods that do nothing to prevent hazards from occurring and must identify them at the end of the process. HACCP is focused only on the health safety issues of a product and not the quality of the product. HACCP compliance is regulated by 21 CFR part 120 and 123.