Validation demonstrates whether the HACCP system will work in theory and whether it actually works when used.

HACCP Validation Meetings Start June 14

The Food Safety and Inspection Service will hold these meetings to explain to stakeholders what it expects under the validation guidance issued in March. Comments are due by June 19, five days after the first meeting in Washington, D.C.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service released guidance three months ago telling food processors and manufacturers what it expects them to do to validate their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems, which are intended to ensure cleanliness and the safety of the food supply. The guidance notes there are two parts to validation: whether the HACCP system in place will work in theory, and whether it actually works when used. Comments are due by June 19, and FSIS has announced a series of public meetings about the guidance will start June 14 at the USDA South Building, 1400 Independence Ave. SW in Washington, D.C. To register, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/News/Meetings_&_Events.

The guidance does not create new requirements for establishments required to have HACCP systems in place. It clarifies existing requirements and illustrates how to meet them. It says documentation that can validate a HACCP plan can include theoretical principles, expert advice from processing authorities, scientific data, other information demonstrating that particular process control measures can adequately address specified hazards, in-plant observations, measurements, test results, or other information demonstrating that the control measures as written can be operated to achieve the intended food safety objective. Validation data must include some practical data or information reflecting the establishment's actual experience in implementing the plan.

"USDA is deeply committed to enhancing food safety in a way that supports small processors," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "FSIS' transparent and open process for developing this guidance is designed to ensure that the agency can effectively help establishments of all sizes improve the safety of their products and reduce the incidence of foodborne illness."

An updated draft guidance will be published in the Federal Register in July for a second round of comments, with two more public meetings held.

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