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UL launches food safety validation service

By Joe Whitworth , 14-Feb-2013

UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc) has unveiled a food safety process validation service, which enables food manufacturers to ensure they comply with US Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards.

The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) requires that establishments validate their HACCP plan’s adequacy in controlling food safety hazards and verify it is implemented correctly.

Trained UL auditors validate each component of the HACCP plan’s adequacy in controlling the food safety hazards through an in-plant observation and review of measurements, microbiological test results and data demonstrating that control measure are in place.

Food manufacturers are required to reassess the adequacy of their HACCP plan at least annually and whenever any changes occur that could affect the hazard analysis or alter the HACCP plan.

Increased focus

Increased consumer, media and regulatory attention on outbreaks of foodborne illness and recalls, made delivering safer food products essential to a company’s brand, business and customers, said UL.

Hank Lambert, general manager, global food and water, at UL told FoodQualityNews.com the service benefits food manufacturers by providing third party validation that their HACCP plans are in compliance with USDA requirements.

“Even the best food plants can overlook vulnerabilities in flow charts, allergens, supporting documentation, monitoring, process changes, and supplier letters.

“UL’s process validation makes it simple for meat and poultry manufacturers to meet the validation requirements and position themselves at the forefront of compliance and transparency.”

UL provides a detailed written report detailing the organization’s progress and recommendations for improving any gaps that may result in a food safety hazard and determines whether the plan is being effectively implemented on an ongoing basis.

HACCP responsibility

Lambert said each HACCP plan is unique to a particular process and it places more responsibility on the food processor to identify and control hazards and to document system effectiveness.

HACCP evaluates and addresses potential biological, physical, and chemical hazards which may be introduced from raw materials, the process, equipment, the environment and employees. 

As well as the validation service, the firm also offers verification services which it identified as an “essential part of some HACCP plans”.

When asked about the awareness of food firms to HACCP, Lambert added: “Right now, education is key.  With the ever-changing regulatory oversight, it’s necessary to update food manufacturers on compliance and performance standards.” 

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