Why Pre-requisite Programs are important?

Assuring food safety is crucial not only from consumer safety standpoint but also to meet regulatory requirement and to protect the business.

Companies develop and implement food safety systems to identify, evaluate and control potential food safety hazards. Within a food safety system, there are several components that have their assigned functionalities. Separately these components are useless and are effective only if used within the system.

Food Safety Systems have the following components: GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices, Pre-requisite Programs and HACCP or Food Safety Plans). Each of those elements have their roles. GMPs are fundamentals (basic requirements to make food in sanitary conditions), PRPs are supporting elements and HACCP / Food Safety Plans focus on identification, evaluation and deciding on controls for food safety hazards. For those that don’t have a lot of experience in Food Safety Plans development, HACCP Plans can be built using specialized software such as FoodReady. This software will walk you step by step through that process.

Prerequisite program is a procedure or set of procedures that is designed to provide basic environmental or operating conditions necessary to produce safe, wholesome food. It is called prerequisite because it is considered by scientific experts to be prerequisite to a HACCP plan.

Pre-requisite Programs have a special role within the food safety system. These are Programs, Procedures written specifically for the facility that take over some of the responsibility for controlling and mitigating food safety hazards. PRPs are not standardized in FDA and USDA regulations but 3rd party audits have precise expectations to the types of Programs and elements they must have.

PRPs are used as a tool in decision making process in hazard analysis within your HACCP food safety plans. Without strong PRPs your HACCP would require critical control points for most of the identified hazards. Pre-requisite Programs allow you to reduce the number of CCPs within your HACCP Plan and focus your resources on really matters to food safety. The types and number of PRPs depends on your needs. Another words, the more hazards are associated with your operation, the more PRPs you will have. In general, high-risk operations and more complex operations have more programs than low risk or simple operations. Examples of PRPs include Allergen Management Programs, Supplier Approval Procedures or Foreign Material Control Policies.

Typical PRP has the following elements: assigned responsibilities, the scope, procedure, and corrective actions. GFSI standard in addition require that PRPs are verified and some of the critical components of these programs are validated.

Originally the approach used in food safety HACCP system emphasized on critical control points. Modern approach requires companies to have a strong base of Pre-requisite Programs and establish critical control points only to the most significant hazards.

As a food company you strive to make your food safety system robust and effective. Having strong prep-requisite programs is a must to assure consumers safety and protect your business. Our firm helps with Food Safety Systems development including creation of pre-requisite programs. Contact us today at www.bdfoodsafety.com or [email protected]