Food Business Almanac: HACCP and GMP

by | Apr 3, 2013

NCDA&CS food business specialist Annette Dunlap offers resources that agribusiness owners and food entrepreneurs can use to grow and manage their business. Annette is available for free one-on-one consultations and can assist business owners with financial and market planning through the agribusiness development section. She can be reached at

Even though it may look like alphabet soup, HACCP and GMP are important terms for food entrepreneurs to know. They both are critical to ensuring the safety of your product, whether it’s sliced apples or barbecue sauce. To find out more about these two terms, Annette interviewed Kristen Baughman, outreach coordinator for the department’s Food and Drug Protection Division. In the video below, Kristen explains the difference between HACCP and GMP:


HACCP, which stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, is a science-based monitoring system for identifying and controlling chemical, physical and biological hazards at different points in the production process.

Currently, HACCP plans are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for fish, fishery products, juices, nectary products and rabbit. The FDA also has proposed rules that would require HACCPs for fresh-cut produce, but these have not been implemented yet. Meat and poultry products are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

It takes work to develop and implement GMPs and HACCPs for a food business. Fortunately, the department offers services that can assist you. For meat-based products, contact the Meat and Poultry Inspection Division. Contact the Food and Drug Protection Division for all non-meat or rabbit products.

Following are seven principles of HACCP accepted by government agencies, trade associations and the international food industry:

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis
  2. Determine the critical control points
  3. Establish critical limits
  4. Establish monitoring procedures
  5. Establish corrective actions
  6. Establish verification procedures
  7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures

Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs, should be an integral part of any HACCP plan. GMPs are preventative guidelines for plant and facility operations. Most GMPs address the following:

  • Plant design and construction materials
  • Water supply
  • Plumbing and toilet facilities
  • Equipment and utensils
  • Raw food handling and testing practices
  • Personal hygiene
  • Pest control
  • Waste disposal
  • Storage