The US Department of Agriculture is considering whether to adopt an industry request that the department recognise prerequisite programs so plants do not have to address every food safety concern in their HACCP plans, FoodChemical news writes this week. Alison Beeers reports that industry groups have been seeking recognition of good manufacturing practices and other prerequisite programs for years, arguing that some concerns are better handled outside of HACCP because occasional deviations are not likely to create a food safety hazard. She states that over-reliance on critical control points for these more minor concerns results in HACCP plans that are cumbersome and unwieldy and places plants at risk of serious enforcement action for minor offenses. The US government May now be ready to embrace a new type of regulatory approach under HACCP, at least on a limited scale, Ms. Beers continues. "The agency believes it can develop and propose regulations that recognise successful prerequisite programs in certain circumstances," USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service wrote in an issue paper released last week. Industry officials argue that some food safety problems simply cannot be eradicated entirely, such as zero-tolerance failures or the occasional metal contamination. While these infractions may not qualify as minor food safety offenses, industry says they are better handled outside of HACCP because they will inevitably occur from time to time.