HACCP Vs HARPC | 4 mins read

HACCP vs. HARPC- What's the Difference?

haccp vs harpc whats the difference
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

HACCP and HARPC sound the same but they differ in definition and execution. The main difference between HACCP and HARPC is that HACCP controls hazard levels, and HARPC prevents potential risks.

What Is HACCP?

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system refers to a food safety standard designed to identify, prevent, and control hazards to acceptable safe levels during food production.


The types of hazards being controlled are biological, chemical, and physical hazards.

HACCP is crucial to food establishments because it minimizes food safety risks. Thus, it contributes to a better quality of health for your consumers.

The HACCP program is mandatory for meat, poultry, seafood, and juice processing establishments.
An establishment needs to complete five prerequisites to start implementing HACCP, followed by seven principles.

The HACCP prerequisites are-

  1. Assemble a multidisciplinary HACCP team
  2. Describe the product
  3. Identify the product's expected usage
  4. Construct a flow chart
  5. Conduct on-site confirmation of the flow chart, and draw up the plant schematic

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

What is HARPC?

Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Control (HARPC) system is a science and food safety standard designed to prevent foreseeable risks in the entire food supply chain. It is also known as the successor of HACCP.

The types of hazards listed in HARPC include-

  • Chemical, biological, physical, and radiological hazards
  • Natural allergens, toxins, pesticides, drug residues, decomposed material, parasites, and unapproved food and color additives
  • Naturally occurring hazards
  • Unintentionally introduced hazards
  • Intentionally introduced hazards, including acts of terrorism

HARPC is vital in all food establishments because it improves food safety and consumer protection, concretizes manufacturing processes, and builds trust from buyers and partners.

A trained team defined by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), known as "preventive controls qualified individuals," is required to develop, implement, and maintain an adequate HARPC plan.

A HARPC plan consists of 7 principles that establishments must fulfill. They are-
  1. Conduct a hazard analysis
  2. Implement risk-based preventive controls
  3. Monitor effectiveness of the controls
  4. Establish corrective actions
  5. Establish verification actions
  6. Follow necessary record-keeping and documentation processes
  7. Reanalyze the HARPC plan once every three years, or when needed

How Do HACCP and HARPC Differ?

The primary difference between HACCP and HARPC lies in the definition of hazards.

HACCP defines hazards as, chemical, physical, or biological, agent that is likely to cause illness or injury in the absence of its control.

HARPC defines hazards as, known or reasonably foreseeable food safety hazards that may cause illness or injury if they are present in the food products.

In short, hazards in HACCP refers to contaminant agents, and HARPC refers to hazards as potential risks.
HARPC is generally seen as an upgraded version of HACCP because it covers all food establishments in the entire supply chain (that are providing food to US consumers), and it aims to eliminate potential risks, such as natural allergens, radiological hazards, acts of terrorism, and more.

To help illustrate key differences in both plans, refer to the core differences between HACCP and HARPC below.

Key Comparison PointsHACCPHARPC
ObjectiveTo prevent and control hazards to a safe levelTo prevent foreseeable risks that may cause illnesses
List of hazards/risks that are considered
  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Physical
  • Chemical, biological, physical, and radiological hazards
  • Natural allergens, toxins, pesticides, drug residues, decomposed material, parasites, and unapproved food and color additives
  • Naturally occurring hazards
  • Unintentionally introduced hazards
  • Intentionally introduced hazards, including acts of terrorism
The primary person responsible for the planA HACCP coordinator with assistance from a multi-departmental teamA trained Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI), as described in the FSMA Act
Frequency of reviewOnce a year, or when requiredOnce every three years, or when required
Types of establishment that require the planAll FDA and USDA mandated establishments, or when required for certification purposesAll establishments within the food supply chain that serve US consumers, unless exempted explicitly
Types of establishment that can be exemptedUnless mandated, HACCP is optional and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are mandatorySome types of establishments are exempt but theyre required to follow at least Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP)
The plan is for Stakeholders including auditors, inspectors, and customersThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


Conclusion

Both HACCP and HARPC are food safety standards but they control and prevent different levels of safety.
HACCP is a reactive food safety approach that identifies, prevents, and controls hazards to a safe level.

HARPC is a proactive food safety approach that identifies, controls, and prevents potential, foreseeable risks that may cause illness upon consumption.

To recap, the key differences between HACCP and HARPC are-

  • HACCP is a reactive food safety standard, and HARPC uses a proactive approach
  • HACCP is mandatory for food establishments under USDA and FDA jurisdiction, and HARPC is mandatory for all food establishments serving US consumers
  • HACCP is a regulatory standard and HARPC is a US law (under the FSMA act)