What is the importance of HACCP?

What is HACCP?

HACCP (the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system) is a process control system that identifies where hazards might occur in the food production process. HACCP address food safety 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.



HACCP is so important because it:

  • Prioritizes and controls potential hazards in food production.
  • Controlling major food risks, such as microbiological, chemical and physical contaminants
  • Provides the framework to produce foods safely and to prove they were produced safely.
  • Focuses on prevention and control of potential food safety hazards rather than inspection.
  • Covers all types of potential food safety hazards whether they are naturally occurring in the food, contributed by the environment, or generated by a mistake in the manufacturing process. Hazards such as Biological hazards (e.g. bacteria, viruses), Chemical hazards (e.g. pesticide residues, and mycotoxins) and Physical hazards (e.g. metal, glass).
  • Various customers in the food chain required their suppliers to have certified HACCP systems.
  • Provide businesses with a cost effective system for control of food safety, from ingredients right through to production, storage and distribution to sale and service of the final consumer.


7 principles that serves as the foundation for a HACCP system

  • Identification and assessment of hazards associated with food from farm to fork;
  • Determination of the critical control points to control any identified hazard; and
  • Establishment limits of the critical control points.
  • Establish monitoring procedures for critical control points
  • Establish corrective actions
  • Establish verification procedures
  • Establish a record system.


How Can we Use HACCP?

We can implement HACCP-like practices in the home by following proper storage, handling, cooking and cleaning procedures. From the time a consumer purchases meat or poultry from the grocery store to the time they cook and serve a meal, there are many steps to take to ensure food safety. Examples include properly refrigerating meat and poultry, keeping raw meat and poultry separate form cooked and ready-to-eat foods, refrigerating and cooking leftovers to prevent bacterial growth and good hygiene


Why Food hygiene?


Good practices of hygiene are essential for food preparation, not only in industry but also, in the domestic. Good food hygiene extends beyond washing hands before eating. Poor food hygiene is the cause for many avoidable diseases and even deaths.

Good food hygiene practices help to reduce the risk of food poisoning among your customers or your household and help to control harmful bacteria, which can cause serious illness.

Bacteria can be transferred from hands, tools, surfaces, knives, and clothes to the food and then cause food poisoning.

Many microbes like the ones causing typhoid, gastroenteritis, diarrheal diseases, abdominal cramps, even liver infections, among others, are passed in stools of infected persons and mix with the soil. This contaminated soil can become the source of propagation of infection.

Good food hygiene prevents cross-contamination, which is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Cross-contamination is when bacteria are spread between food, surfaces or equipment.

Good Food Hygiene includes practices such as

  • Cleaning and disinfect work surfaces,
  • Washing your hands before preparing food (Hands should be washed at least following these actions: before and after food preparation, before and after using kitchen utensils, after using the toilet, after sneezing, coughing, blowing the nose, smoking, touching the hair or face and emptying bins)
  • The raw substances used for cooking should be washed thoroughly with water before being cooked.
  • Storing separately raw food from ready-to-eat food and so on..
  • Effective cleaning gets rid of bacteria on hands, equipment and surfaces.
  • Thorough cooking kills harmful bacteria in food. So it is extremely important to make sure that food is cooked properly. When cooking or reheating food, always check that it is steaming hot all the way through.
  • Jewellery, watch should be removed because can be a shelter for bacteria which can transfer easily to food or utensils.
  • Wounds should be covered with a waterproof plaster after being cleaned
  • Always check expiry dates of products before using.


Knowledge of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is essential for food handlers because HACCP is a system that helps food business operators look at how they handle food and introduces procedures to make sure the food produced is safe to eat.

Personal hygiene is very important for preventing poisoning and illness. Hand washing, maintaining general cleanliness and being aware of the dangers of cross contamination are the most important factors to remember when preparing food.

Because food hygiene is crucial in ensuring healthy food, Professional food handlers must understand and implement proper food hygiene techniques.

Key issues and problems for food safety in African Sub-saharan rural area

Food safety is a major health challenge in Africa. Many sub-Saharan africain from rural area suffer from food borne illness such as stomach upset, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, dehydration and sometime that can lead to death. Ensuring food safety is key to prevent food borne illnesses which are contracted through consumption of unsafe foods.

Food contamination can occur at any point through its preparation, handling, storage and consumption. A recent study by the WHO shows that almost one in 10 people in the world, fall ill after consuming contaminated food and Africa and South-East Asia have the highest incidence and highest death rates, including among children under the age of five years. A process to depicts the handling, the preparation and the storage of food in ways that prevent food borne illness have to be known by food handlers and routine practices that should be done to avoid potential health hazards have to be put in place .

Practices identified as contributing to food borne outbreaks include:

  1. Hygiene

In rural areas, most of food handlers don’t wash their hand with water before preparing food, and if they do, they do not use soap. The practice of good hand hygiene, such as washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, is the first step that needs to be taken to ensure the safety of food. Whether it takes place on the farm where the food is being grown or in the kitchen (at home or in a restaurant), hand hygiene is vital to preventing food from becoming contaminated. Find more information on the importance of hygiene in food safety in this link Importance of Hygiene


A woman cleaning hers hands before handling food

         2. Cross contamination

Most food handlers don’t separate raw foods from cooked food during preparation or store raw and cooked foods together in a place without anything separating them. Ustencils that are used for raw foods are also used for cooked food. There is another serious problem with cross-contamination from raw to cooked foods both directly and indirectly via dirty unstencils used. Find more information on cross contamination in this link Cross-contamination

  3. Preparation or cooking method

Cooking food to 70°C has been shown to make foods safer for consumption. Some of the rural households ate leftovers. Most always cook their food thoroughly before eating, but some households that preferred to undercook their meats, chicken and fish.

   4. Use clean water and raw materials

Most of food handlers don’t  use clean, safe water for washing raw fruits and vegetables or for cooking thus providing a major source of microbial (and other) contamination.

In Africa, many youth, farmers, food handlers in rural and sub urban regions lack essential amenities and adequate clarification or sensitization on importance of food safety. They need to be aware of and to put in place sanitary measures; principles and procedures to ensure that food is free from contamination in order to promote a healthy living practice.

Food Waste In Africa

foodwaste-blog-1536x1152EVEN though Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, almost 50 percent of the food produced is wasted. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the amount of food wasted on the continent is enough to feed 300 million people.

Food loss refers to food that gets spoil along the supply chain. In most African nations, like most low-income countries across the world, these losses (40%) tend to occur early in the food supply chain – between the field and the market.

In Africa, the bulk of wasted food from post-harvest loss and consumer preferences need to be solved. What the continent needs to do to reduce this waste?