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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Question about HACCP Ownership:


Is HACCP a public domain concept as I have always believed or is anyone able to confirm otherwise that the concept is actually owned by a particular body? I will be glad to know.

Narratives about the history of HACCP includes how the concept was pioneered in the 1960s by the Pillsbury Company, the United States Army and the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a collaborative development for the production of safe foods for the United States space program. According to the introduction to HACCP published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), (Publication 22376, W8088, AG, AGN, FAO Agricultural Policy and Economic Development Series, Version 4, (1998) Section 3), Pillsbury presented the HACCP concept publicly at a conference for food protection in 1971.

So who actually owns HACCP? To put this question more practically, are companies wishing to set up programs according to HACCP principles required to pay any body for the use of the concept? 

Further to the above questions, when did the practice of HACCP principles begin?

According to the Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, the root word was first used in the 1300s, from old French hasard, hasart – meaning "game of chance played with dice," possibly from Spanish azar "an unfortunate card or throw at dice," which is said to be from Arabic az-zahr.  The sense of the word was said to have been first recorded in the 1540s in English in reference to a sense of "chance of loss or harm, risk".

So, well before the 1960s, the root word for “hazard” was used to describe risk or harm much in the same way as we do today. Given the natural human reactions to risk and harm, it can be accurately presumed that some strategies were devised to avoid such risk or harm. In particular, where games were involved, strategies were devised to mitigate “risk”, at least the risk of losing a game. Reactions to hazard through the adoption of modern HACCP principles do not seem to be different. Hazard mitigation strategies or controls remain the expected reactions to identified hazards – much like the way we practice the HACCP principles today. The practice began well before the 1960s. It only became more refined in the industrialized world. Even today, some less refined and less rigorously documented methods of practicing hazard mitigation principles continue in the lives of almost all thinking human beings.      
Posted By Felix Amiri
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Felix Amiri is the current Food Industry Chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection

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