The application of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system is rapidly progressing, in particular in large and medium scale food industries. The term is becoming well known in food control and public health circles and is one which evokes food safety. However, concomitant with the headway of the HACCP system in food safety management, the incidence of foodborne diseases is increasing worldwide. Does the increase in foodborne diseases represent a paradox or failure of the HACCP system? The HACCP system is not a panacea for all food safety problems. It is a tool that guides food safety assurance personnel in the identification of pertinent hazards and control measures, ensuring that those which are critical for food safety are applied correctly. In this way, it enhances the safety of the food supply. While the application of the HACCP system can improve food safety in all situations, its strength and success in preventing foodborne illnesses depend on it being applied correctly and in combination with other food safety management systems, including the provision of a sanitary infrastructure and the application of principles of good hygienic practice. The paper presents the reasons for the increase in foodborne diseases, the role that the HACCP system plays in preventing foodborne diseases, the determinants of its success and failure, and the contribution which can reasonably be expected from the implementation of the HACCP system to public health.

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