Scientists and the Regulation of Risk
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Scientists and the Regulation of Risk

Standardising Control

David Demortain

Risks are increasingly regulated by international standards, and scientists play a key role in standardisation. This fascinating book exposes the action of ‘invisible colleges’ of scientists – loose groups of prominent scientific experts who combine practical experience of risk and control with advisory responsibility – in the formulation of international standards.
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Chapter 5: Modelling Regulation: HACCP and the Ambitions of the Food Microbiology Elite

David Demortain


In 2003, the EU adopted a regulation that mandated all food businesses to have a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system in place from the year 2006. This legislation extended the obligation already set by Directive 93/43 to organise food hygiene by following HACCP-like principles. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, an entity supervised by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, had also adopted a guideline for HACCP in 1993. These norm-making acts capped the long course of the concept of HACCP that emerged at the turn of the 1970s in reflections involving NASA, a US Army laboratory, the US food company Pillsbury1 as well as the US Food and Drug Administration before becoming a global and generic methodology for food hygiene and safety control. HACCP is a system of operations to ensure that contaminations of a foodstuff under production are minimised. The principles are as follows (Codex, 1997): ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Conduct a hazard analysis. Determine the critical control points (CCPs). Establish critical limit(s). Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP. Establish the corrective action to be taken when monitoring indicates that a particular CCP is not under control. Establish procedures for verification to confirm that the HACCP system is working effectively. Establish documentation concerning all procedures and records appropriate to these principles and their application. The HACCP acronym was forged to group together these operations that must be followed in a set order. The application of these principles leads to the elaboration of an ‘HACCP plan’...

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