Food Safety

Are You FSMA Ready? Understanding the Similarities & Differences Between HACCP and HARPC


Codex HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.  It was developed by private industry rather than regulatory and has evolved into a standard for which food safety programs and hazards controls are measured and documented for prevention.  So, it actually started out private industry and then evolved into a regulatory requirement for specific food sectors like meat and poultry, seafood, juice products and low acid canned foods in the United States and now it is required regulatory-wise in many other countries.  HACCP is required by the Global Food Safety Initiative, Third Party Audits, the European Union as well as other global regulatory agencies.  HACCP uses critical control points and control measures that are specific to the steps used in the process.

HARPC stands for Hazard Analysis Risk-Based Preventive Controls.  It is not yet a global standard, but a USA Regulatory Food Processing Law required for almost all FDA food processing facilities with some exemptions.  Domestic and foreign food facilities that process, pack or hold food are now required by law to comply with 21 CFR, Part 117 with all the equivalent Sub-Parts B, C and G.  HARPC focuses on preventive controls and these are more than critical control points.  Preventive controls are scientifically based, or risk-based, and must be adequate to significantly minimize or prevent foreseeable hazards for each food type process under the federal regulations.  So, while this is not a global standard, upgrading your food safety from HACCP to HARPC is now required if you are producing food for sale in the USA or exporting to the USA from a foreign country.

Similarities between HACCP and HARPC

  1. They both require trained individuals and teams to execute the plans effectively. In HAACP we have a HACCP coordinator and for HARPC we have a PCQI or Preventive Controls Qualified Individual.
  2. Both focus on biological, chemical and physical food safety hazards.
  3. Both use risk-based standards to either minimize or eliminate food safety hazards- they are both based on prevention.
  4. They have similar elements that overlap. For example, a critical control point is synonymous with process preventive controls.  They both require verification, record keeping, validation and re-evaluation of plans on an ongoing basis.

Differences between HACCP and HARPC

  1. HACCP focuses on three conventional hazard types – biological, chemical and physical. HARPC also focuses on these three but under the language of the new FSMA rule they have also included the requirement to address other hazards such as radiological, natural toxins, pesticides, drug residues, naturally occurring hazards, and intentionally or unintentionally introduced hazards – so these are add-ons to HACCP.
  2. HARPC includes other programs such as allergen, sanitation supply chain and recall as preventive controls. They are managed inside the food safety plan as critical control points.  Under HACCP, these food safety programs are managed outside the plan as prerequisite programs.  This is one of the major differences between HACCP and HARPC.

Are you FSMA ready?  Our new online course, HOW TO CONVERT YOUR HACCP PLAN TO HARPC AND MEET FSMA REQUIREMENTS is designed to assist food processors in taking their current HAACP plans and converting them to FSMA Preventive Controls Food Safety Plans otherwise known as HARPC.  This course takes the Codex HACCP principles and navigates the steps needed to convert your plan into preventive controls or HARPC using real life examples.

This online course was developed by Nancy Scharlach, President and Chief Technical Officer for FSMA International, lead instructor with FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food, lead instructor with FSPCA Foreign Supplier Verification Program, lead instructor with International HACCP Alliance and an SQF/Global Food Safety Initiative for high-risk processing.  Nancy has audited, trained and consulted on-site with over 2,000 food processors and/or growers worldwide.

For more information on this upcoming training course, please enter your name and email below and we will send you all details of Nancy’s new course!

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