Legislated food safety requirements and HACCP. What’s the difference?
During informal discussions with their customers or distribution agents small to medium food producers may be asked to demonstrate they are HACCP certified. For some producers this can be confusing and worrying when they already have local council approval for their operations.
Some simple research can help clarify the exact obligations of food producers and ensure that HACCP certification is achieved at the right time.
What are the minimum legal requirements?
All Australian states and territories have food safety legislation. As an example we have included references to The South Australian Food Act 2001 and Regulations 2002 which specify the minimum requirements for food producers and retailers:-
• SA Food Regulations – www.legislation.sa.gov.au
The Act & Regulations use the international Codex Alimentarius & HACCP systems as a basis for mandating food safety principles within the state and are closely aligned with similar legislation interstate.
However, if a producer or retailer can demonstrate that their food safety system is better than the minimum HACCP standard that is also acceptable.
Under the guidance of state and territory health departments, local councils monitor performance of food safety.
There may be circumstances where customers specify in their contracts that a supplier shall be independently HACCP certified.
When this occurs at least the producer and supplier have the opportunity to make an informed decision on whether they wish to pursue this option.
So always remember to check the state & territory legislation in which you have operations or are exporting to.
Not all legislation contains a mandate to be independently, third party HACCP certified.