It is a Food Safety methodology that relies on the identification of Critical Control Points (CCP's) in food production and preparation processes. Closely monitored CCPs will ensure that food is safe for human consumption. It avoids traditional "end product testing" and seeks to identify hazards and reduce risks throughout all stages from producer to plate.
The approach was originally derived from Engineering System's - "Failure Mode and Effect Analysis". It was further developed by Pillsbury / NASA for the American Space Programme. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points reduced the risk of astronauts suffering from the effects of consuming contaminated food whilst in space. HACCP Principles are now promoted and incorporated into Food Safety Legislation in many Countries.