Food-borne diseases constitute an important public health problem in both developed and developing countries. Although their health and economic aspects are often obscured by insufficiency of data, available evidence on incidence and associated costs of medical care indicates that they are a major cause of morbidity, and a drain on resources. A joint WHO/FAO expert committee on food safety asserts that illness due to contaminated food is probably the most widespread health problem in the contemporary world, and an important cause of reduced economic productivity. Given the inadequacies of traditional approaches to food safety control, viz. inspection and end-product testing, there is a need to apply such other strategy of proven effectiveness as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system which has been described as the most viable means for the prevention of food-borne diseases yet devised. While there is an extensive literature suggesting the effectiveness of HACCP in preventing food-borne diseases, food operators have yet to embrace it with the anticipated enthusiasm. This paper examines factors that are likely to hinder wider acceptance and practical implementation of HACCP in food operations and discusses measures to overcome them. It is concluded that HACCP training and education of food operators and food regulatory officials is a conditio sine qua non for the realization of the fullest benefits of the strategy. © 1996.