Under current state and federal laws, food growers and manufacturers must have Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or HACCP plans in place as a preventative measure against foodborne illness or contamination. Everyone who wants to sell fish, meat, produce, juice, or school food is required to draw up a HAACP plan and pay for verification from an outside party that it’s working.
Originally developed in the 1960s in a joint effort between the Pillsbury Corporation and NASA to make space food safe for consumption, HAACP plans weren’t required until the 1990s. After an E.coli outbreak in the Northwest United States which sickened hundreds, the Pathogen Reduction/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Systems (HACCP) Rule was put into place in 1996.
Each HAACP plan is based on seven principles:
- Conduct a hazard analysis
- Identify critical control points (places in food manufacturing where food safety hazards can be prevented)
- Establish critical limits for each critical control point
- Establish critical control point monitoring requirements
- Establish corrective actions
- Establish procedures to ensure HAACP system is working as intended
- Establish record-keeping procedures
They have been a state-certified facility for two years but, in order to expand, have to create their own HACCP plan to satisfy USDA requirements. A verified plan, according to their Kickstarter video, costs $35,000-40,000 to create.
“We don’t see it as a thing where just big companies with a lot of money should have access to this information. We want to see tons of small producers and even farmers who want to do this be able to without researching food safety information that’s already been done.”
The pitch? Share food safety information with small producers and get some salami in the bargain. It’s unclear how much these HAACP plans will have to be changed to adapt to new processing facilities or whether, in order to use the verified process, salami makers will have to stick with Underground Meat’s particular model. However, the act of freely putting more information about complicated legal processes in the open will undoubtedly be of help to many.
-Tove K. Danovich