2 min read

By: Adebayo B. Olanrewaju 

Many food safety practitioners do find the terms ‘PRP’, ‘OPRP’ and ‘CCP’ confusing because of their basic similarities. This writeup, among other things, is meant to clarify the differences and, present different approaches in implementing them.

PRP, OPRP & CCP are all categories of control measures. In the context of food safety and according to the International Standards Organization (ISO), a control measure is defined as an action or activity that can be used to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level. 

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Critical Control Point (CCP)

Critical Control Point is defined by ISO as a step in the process at which control can be applied and is essential to prevent, eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level. 

Note the phrase ‘a step in the process’; the phrase differentiates a CCP from the general control measure, as it relates specifically to a step in the process, and not a general activity or action. 

A CCP must be designed in such a way that it is able to actually apply a control else cannot be referred to as a CCP. 

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Prerequisite Program (PRP)

PRPs as defined by ISO are the basic conditions and activities necessary to maintain a hygienic environment throughout the food chain which are suitable for the production, handling and provision of safe final products and safe foods for human consumption. 

PRPs are of different varieties depending on the particular product and process. The following are examples of PRP’s in a food manufacturing environment:


  • construction and layout of buildings
  • lay-out of premises, including workspace and employee facilities
  • supplies of air, water, energy and other utilities
  • supporting services, including waste and sewage disposal
  • the suitability of equipment and its accessibility for cleaning and maintenance
  • management of raw materials, supplies, disposals and handling of products
  • measures for preventing of cross-contamination
  • cleaning and sanitizing
  • control of pests
  • hygiene of personnel etc.

It should be noted that, PRP’s are usually general to the process and not focused on any particular step in the process. 

Their failure does not necessarily lead to an immediate food safety risk. Their failure over time does result to a critical change which may lead to food safety risk. 

Operational Prerequisite Program (oPRP)

ISO 22000 defines OPRP as a control measure identified by the hazard analysis as essential in order to control the likelihood of introducing food safety hazards and/or the contamination or proliferation of food safety hazards in the product(s) or in the processing environment. 

OPRPs are specific actions relating to the process, although not being critical for food safety, but they are essential in reducing the likelihood of specific hazards occurring. OPRP is not an intrinsic step and can be removed from the process and a company can practically still produce relatively safe products. 

For example, metal detection in a process designed to reduce the likelihood of a hazard reaching the consumer. 

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Understanding these differences assist in easy implementation, monitoring and management of the food safety management system.

About the Author

Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations. 

You can reach him here.

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