The EU-legislation is based on the principle that food establishments are responsible for compliance with the rules. This applies to all parts of the food chain from “stable to table”.
Food establishments are required to perform own-checks. All establishments must use good manufacturing practice, and most establishments must also have a written own-check programme.
The written own-check programme is required for areas where a direct risk to food safety is present or where legislation states special requirements e.g. for establishments exporting to third countries or preparing organic food.
The part of the own-check programme concerning food safety must be based upon the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). This implies e.g. risk analysis, documentation of monitoring, and establishing corrective actions.
Analyses can be an element of the own-check programme, and can show the effect of it. Many establishments’ own-check programmes do not require analytical control, except for measurements of temperature or weight.
The food industry has been urged by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration to compile the so-called “sector codes for good hygienic practice” or national guidelines.
Many food industry sectors have produced guidelines describing how companies can be organised and run in a hygienically responsible way, and how they can implement efficient own-check programmes.
These guidelines should help the individual companies to tailor their own programmes of own-check.
Inspection of the own-check procedures
For establishments only following good manufacturing practice, the inspectors check that the establishment follows the rules, for instance by physical inspection.
For establishments having a written own-check programme, the inspector performs an audit. The inspector checks if the own-check programme is sufficient and well-implemented.
In case of deficiencies, the inspector requires that the establishment makes a better implementation of the own-check programme or revises the programme.