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Saturday, 14 September 2013

HACCP and SSQA Concepts - Exceptional Synergy

According to Donald Rumsfeld: "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say,  . . . things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we don't know we don't know."
You probably know everything there is to know about HACCP but are you familiar with the synergy between HACCP and SSQA? Do you know that the SSQA implementation steps 3 through 6 concept can actively prevent your HACCP program from ever going stale? 

Given Donald Rumsfeld’s apt description of “known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns”, I am happy to say that the synergy between HACCP and SSQA may fall into the category of “known unknown” for you and it can easily become a “known known”. Don’t let it remain an “unknown unknown”. 

You can connect with the  Dynamic Trio and begin to make these things happen for your company:

  • Optimize your company’s spending on food safety and quality management resources by focusing on what is essential and cutting redundancies
  • Break free from the institutionalized food safety management myths
  • Work with the actual realities faced by your company instead of remaining unnecessarily burdened by the virtual realities imagined and imposed from some far away boardrooms or desk tops
  • Go beyond mere compliance and actually fortify your operation against both anticipated and unanticipated product safety and quality failure issues
  • Mount a full scope partners shield against errors, failures and negative tendencies
  • Maintain a rewarding commitment to your company's social responsibility
  • Empower your company in its determination to maintain its moral obligation and meet all regulatory mandates
A Closer Look at the Main Drivers in a Well Fortified System (HACCP and SSQA)

HACCP = Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system.
SSQA = Safety, Security and Quality Assurance.

If HACCP is a tool, and it is, SSQA provides the discipline for the proper use of this tool. The SSQA concept is essentially a reality-based approach to the implementation of HACCP along with other strategic product safety and quality management measures. Like HACCP, SSQA is based on science and industry experience. It also has a set of principles and steps to follow in its implementation. However, SSQA offers much more. SSQA is more than a concept. It is also a practical philosophy that goes beyond the usual commercial interests surrounding the implementation of product safety management programs. SSQA is a culture and a strategy. It ensures the validity and effectiveness of all product safety and quality management programs, including HACCP. The synergy between SSQA and HACCP ensures the strength and consistency of implemented control programs in any operation. SSQA keeps HACCP from going stale.

Signs of a stale and flat-lined HACCP program:
Wherever there are random spikes and lows in the occurrence of unacceptable product incidents (related to safety or quality), the HACCP program has gone stale.

Where a decrease in the occurrence of unacceptable product incidents is no longer seen (i.e. the number has flat-lined), the HACCP program has also flat-lined.
___________Here are more things to consider___________

Like the game of soccer, poor and rich operations can play. Both SSQA & HACCP can automatically be customized  according to the size and resources of the operation.

Some industry players operating outside of the SSQA mindset ask whether or not they are required to have HACCP.” Such questions do not even cross the minds of SSQA operators. They understand that outsiders are not the ones to determine if the implementation of HACCP is required. Every SSQA operator demonstrates a true determination to protect consumers through the implementation of good control programs. HACCP is a good control program. Therefore the SSQA operator does not need to be forced to implement HACCP. Complete product safety management programs, including HACCP, are adopted as the every-day practical, cultural and collaborative reality by SSQA operators. Unlike some non-SSQA operators that put on fake appearances of commitment to satisfying the customer and the auditor, the SSQA operator remains genuinely determined to protect the consumer. Genuine (i.e. properly developed and implemented) HACCP programs are the stuff of SSQA with serious attention given to hazard analyses and risk assessment that includes the consideration of difficult-to-manage situations that exist in every operation. Even the newly proposed United States FSMA-HARPC (Food Safety Modernization Act - Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) does not mention any consideration of difficult to manage situations in its hazard identification and analysis requirements. Very few systems, if at all such systems currently exist, are as comprehensive, yet with simplified implementation and practical effectiveness as the SSQA-HACCP synergy.
Under SSQA, the principles of HACCP are adopted with the practical (as opposed to theoretical) collaboration of the entire supply and consumption chain associated with the operation. The SSQA system demands and provides opportunities for such collaboration.

Irrelevant conclusions are also prevented through the adoption of SSQA principles. For example, conclusions are not drawn about the sufficiency of pre-requisite programs (PRPs), operation pre-requisite programs (OPRPs), or supporting safety measures (SSMs) without meeting certain conditions. The key condition to be met is that thorough hazard analysis and risk assessment must be conducted. Every SSQA operator understands that conclusions about the sufficiency of PRPs or CCPS are not a matter of opinion. The SSQA operator understands that the only reasonable basis for reaching such a conclusion comes from proper hazard analysis and risk assessment. The implementation of critical control points may not be necessary for an operation if there are no critical health risks posed by the operation's processes or products. In such instances, non-SSQA operators may hastily conclude that HACCP is not required. SSQA operators do not draw such hasty conclusions. The absence of critical control points does not automatically warrant the abandonment of the “HA” (hazard analysis) in HACCP. In other words, an operation cannot simply decide that HACCP is not necessary without proper hazard analysis and risk assessment. 

The HACCP concept, though badly implemented by operators too numerous to count, is vital to every operation. Without a careful examination, irrelevant conclusions can be drawn about whether or not to implement HACCP, CCPs or what CCPs to implement. The adoption of SSQA principles and strategies will prevent such irrelevant and sometimes detrimental conclusions.

The SSQA system also expands the typical HACCP to the DMS-HACCP. This is HACCP with consideration given to Difficult to Manage Situations (DMS) based on FACTS that are real to the operation.

SSQA programs are reality-based and are designed to stand up against real-life tests.  Where reason and reality prevail, SSQA programs will stand up to any kind of audit or scrutiny that focuses on product safety and quality.

If you have not already seen it, you may also be interested in this post:  Adopting the SSQA - Safety, Security and Quality Assurance Model

Posted By Felix Amiri

Felix Amiri is the current  Food Industry Chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection


  1. Really useful to understand the relation between HACCP & SSQA

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