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HACCP UK describes the gradual introduction of a particular food safety management system throughout the UK food industry.

HACCP is an internationally recognised food safety management system used to identify, evaluate and control food hazards. It is a way of identifying and controlling the parts of the food handling process that are most important in preventing contamination and food poisoning and the requirements for HACCP UK have been extended over the last few years.

HACCP was originally developed in the 1960’s by NASA and the Pilsbury Corporation for use in the US space programme. Understandably, there was concern to ensure that the first manned space flights were not put at risk by food-borne disease amongst the crew. The existing food safety systems depended on the sampling a portion of food produced to check for the presence of food poisoning bacteria. Obviously, it is not possible to sample ALL the food from a batch or there would be none left to use! So, such a sampling system could not guarantee the safety of the food to be consumed. HACCP was a system that, if followed correctly, would produce safe food every time.

The use of HACCP quickly spread beyond space exploration catering and into food manufacturing, firstly in the US and later into many parts of the world. HACCP UK regulations make use of the same 7 HACCP Principles that were developed for the space programme but apply them to earth-based operations.

Initially, HACCP UK regulations only applied to food manufacturing premises and abattoirs etc. The 1995 UK Food Hygiene Regulations applied partial HACCP UK requirements to smaller food businesses but did not apply the seventh HACCP Principle: to establish documentation for all procedures and appropriate records.

HACCP UK regulations requiring most food businesses to put in place a food safety management system incorporating ALL seven HACCP principles were introduced on 1st January 2006 as part of the harmonisation of food law across Europe.