Drafting guides to good hygiene practice: new tools for professionals available on-line

Guides to good hygiene practice (GGHP) and the application of HACCP (1) principles are drafted to help agrifood professionals control the safety of the products they manufacture and to help them comply with regulatory obligations. These reference documents are written by the various professional branches for the industry players in their sector. To help them create these guides, ANSES provides technical support in the form of descriptive fact sheets on foodborne biological hazards. A dedicated area has also been created on the Agency’s website to provide short, informative "tools" fact sheets to help with the drafting of GGHP guides.

In force as of 1 January 2006, the reform of the European regulation on food hygiene simplified and harmonised the laws applicable in the European Union. This set of regulations, known as the “Hygiene Package”, concerns the entire food chain from primary production (both animal and plant) to the consumer and includes the food industry, catering trades, transport and distribution.  Its aim is to harmonise the level of food safety by involving all those working in the food chain, subjecting them to the same requirements, formalising the responsibility of professionals, and optimising controls by the health authorities.

The "Hygiene Package" regulation strongly encourages use of the guides to good hygiene practice (GGHP), which are reference documents created by the various professions for the industry players in their sector. In order to help professionals in the drafting of these guides, the Agency provides technical support in the form of descriptive fact sheets on foodborne biological hazards.

The Agency is also involved on the national level in the validation process for these guides, by providing scientific assessment of them prior to publication.  It assesses the relevance of the analyses of biological, physical and chemical hazards proposed by the GGHP composers.

Those drafting GGHP documents may sometimes be confronted with scientific or technical difficulties. ANSES therefore decided to create a new tool, in the form of short, informative documents for professionals. It will therefore be publishing its "tools" fact sheets in a dedicated area of its website to provide specific information for the drafting of guides. 

Grouped into three categories – methodology, hazards and techniques –, the fact sheets should in time provide professionals with a harmonised methodology.

(1)The HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is a system which identifies, evaluates and controls major food safety hazards.