Working with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points is a massive quality management project ensuring that Yara products always meet the highest standards.
HACCP has more to it than an obscure acronym. Hazard analysis is a systematic preventive approach to food safety. It looks at biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes that can cause the finished item to be unsafe, and designs measurements to reduce these risks to a level of safety. The HACCP system can be used at all stages of the food chain, from food production to preparation processes including packaging and distribution.
Preventing potential risks
"Fertilizer is defined as part of the food chain, and with this in mind Yara has a database of over 100 HACCP studies of different processes to make sure our products are free from contamination and other risk factors," explains Yara’s Central HESQ Manager Michael Lehfeldt.
"These include studies of Yara’s production processes, distribution, storage, transport, handling, etc. - total documentation of our chain of product activities," he adds.
HACCP has grown increasingly important in line with demands for greater transparency and traceability. The HACCP method is based on the preventive study of potential risks and includes plans for corrective action, and documentation and verification. Knut Moe, Yara’s Head of Quality Certification, has had responsibility for this vast and constantly ongoing project since 1999, when Coca Cola insisted on HACCP studies on CO2 used in carbonation, and HACCP has grown increasingly important in step with demands for greater transparency and traceability.
"Providing risk information became mandatory for all parts of the European Union food chain in 2004, but what exactly the food supply chain was, was a bit unclear back then. Regulations and standards have been more clearly defined, and studies have evolved to reflect this," Knut explains. "Several hundred HACCP studies have been done over time, some of them updated more than ten times."
Increasing knowledge about HACCP
Regulatory development attracts more focus from authorities, and requires that Yara increases its knowledge about HACCP . The studies and appendices available for use in the Yara database have been simplified and confidential information has been removed, so these can be shared with customers and authorities.
"Some European countries ask for studies and plant visits to check that these are in place for procedures and products. Italy, the UK and the Netherlands are the most active in Europe regarding HACCP compliance," Knut says.
Yara also produces feed products, and for these, HACCP is mandatory. Several countries require third party certification of production, while others demand this also for supply chain transport, warehouse storage - and more, if a company is to be allowed to sell in those locations. Yara has all necessary certificates in place.