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As recent history has demonstrated food hazards are intrinsic to all parts of the food supply chain, from primary producer, processors and distributors to retailers and consumers and with all associated suppliers of services and raw materials. Failure to adequately manage all relevant hazards can lead to illness, death, malnutrition and destroy the reputations of brands, industrial sectors and governments.

The severity of such ramifications and the scope of the food chain have prompted the realisation that the provision of safe food cannot be achieved by any organization or sector in isolation, but must involve a commitment from all organizations involved in the food chain.

In response to this situation, and in an attempt to harmonize standards and limit the cost, time and sometimes unwarranted demands from a proliferation of private standards, ISO devised a food safety management system that is applicable to all business involved within the food chain, the result - ISO 22000:2005 Food safety management systems - Requirements for any organization in the food chain.

ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems

Published in 2005, ISO 22000 describes an ISO style management system that is fully compatible with traditional ISO based management systems (ISO 9001; ISO 14001; OHSAS 18000) and is based upon the key areas of Management Responsibility, Resource Management, Planning and Realization of Safe Products and Validation, Verification and Improvement. The main components of these key areas are outlined below:

Management Responsibility

  • Commitment through clear policies and measurable objectives
  • Communication with all interested parties throughout the food chain

Resource Management

  • Detailed resource needs for food safety management system implementation and maintenance
  • Evaluation of staff competency requirements and training needs

Planning and Realization of Safe Products

  • Increased scope of risk evaluation – Suppliers and Outsourced activities
  • Open, scientific, fact based risk assessment approach to hazard analysis
  • Three tiered approach involving Pre-requisites, Operational pre-requisites and CCPs and engendering a realisation of the potential of an organisations systems to adequately control relevant food safety hazards

Validation, Verification and Improvement

  • Monitoring, collection and analysis of data to ensure initial and on-going food safety management systems effectiveness
  • Continual improvement of the food safety management systems effectiveness

This framework requires an organization to make scientific fact-based decisions on food safety hazards and implement effective, commensurate systems for control.
Fundamental to this process is the empowerment of personnel to develop full ownership and confidence in a food safety management system that is specific to the organizations supplier base, raw materials, processes and products. The combination of staff empowerment, a fact driven risk assessment model and the commitment of management and resource provides a globally recognized, unbiased system that enables organizations to effectively manage food safety. 

ISO/TS 22002-series Prerequisite Programmes on Food Safety requirements

As an example, ISO/TS 22002-1:2009 (Food Manufacturing) specifies requirements for establishing, implementing and maintaining prerequisite programmes to assist in controlling food safety hazards. The standard is applicable to all organizations, regardless of size or complexity, involved in food manufacturing and addresses the requirements specified in ISO 22000:2005, Clause 7.2.3:

  • Construction and layout of buildings and associated utilities;
  • Layout of premises, including workspace and employee facilities;
  • Supplies of air, water, energy, and other utilities;
  • Supporting services, including waste and sewage disposal;
  • Suitability of equipment and its accessibility for cleaning, maintenance and preventive maintenance;
  • Management of purchased materials;
  • Measures for the prevention of cross-contamination;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing;
  • Pest control;
  • Personnel hygiene.

In addition, ISO/TS 22002-1:2009 also details requirements relevant to manufacturing operations including:

  • Rework;
  • Product recall procedures;
  • Warehousing;
  • Product information and consumer awareness;
  • Food defence, biovigilance and bioterrorism.

The supplementation of these standards into ISO 22000 creates an all-encompassing food safety management system that is composed of three elements major elements

  • Management system elements – defined by ISO 22000
  • Systems for the assessment and control of specific product/process hazards – defined by HACCP and ISO 22000
  • Sector specific pre-requisite requirements for controlling the generic hazards within that specific sector of the food chain – defined by the relevant ISO/TS 22002-series or other relevant standard.

The combining of these international standards in this format has the potential to significantly reduce the geographical, sectorial and customer system, audit variations and red tape that can be involved in trading with different customers throughout the world. When these advantages are coupled with the technical integrity of these standards it is clearly evident why ISO 22000 based Food Safety Management systems are the systems of choice for the management of food safety. 

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As they become available the various combinations of standards are being assessed for their bona fides as comprehensive global food safety standards that meet the requirements of global retailers and manufacturers. This benchmarking process is performed by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI; The GFSI is by far the most influential interest group for food manufacturers and retailers and is composed of expert representatives from multi-national organizations involved throughout the food chain. The GFSI have a goal of providing continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide.

In the case of food manufacturers, such are the potential benefits of the ISO 22000 ISO/TS 22002-1 standard combination as an independent, unbiased global standard that the The Foundation for Food Safety Certification, supported by the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the European Union, has established systems for ensuring the effective implementation and rigorous auditing and maintenance of the standard combination.

The certification scheme comprising ISO 22000 and ISO/TS 22002-1 and overseen by The Foundation for Food Safety Certification is known as Food Safety System Certification 22000 or FSSC 22000. Food Manufacturers audited to the ISO 22000 and ISO/TS 22002-1 by accredited certification bodies approved by the Foundation may be certified to FSSC 22000.

GFSI recognizes ISO 22000/ISO 22002-1 as an equivalent with other sector specific standards e.g. IFS, GlobalGAP, and BRC.

The Foundation for Food Safety Certification has also developed a food safety management system that is applicable to Food Packaging Manufacturers. This system combines ISO 22000 with the PAS 223 – Prerequisite programmes and design requirements for food safety in the manufacture and provision of food packaging.

PAS 223 specifies requirements for establishing, implementing and maintaining Prerequisite programmes and design requirements to assist in controlling food safety hazards in the manufacture of food packaging.

The PAS 223 was developed by representatives from international food manufacturers, international packaging material manufacturers and packaging trade associations and describes uses using the same ISO 22000 science-based approach that is used for ensuring food safety within food manufacturing processes.”

PAS 223 aims to ensure confidence in food and drink packaging safety systems and bring consistency across global packaging industry practices. It could also potentially reduce tendering costs for packaging manufacturers who adhere to it and as help align packaging activities more closely with their clients’ requirements.

It is likely that PAS 223 will form the basis of ISO/AWI TS 22002-7 Prerequisite programmes on food safety - Part 7: Food packaging manufacturing, currently under development by ISO.

The Foundation for Food Safety Certification has begun the process of extending the scope of FSSC 22000 to include packaging materials manufacturers by adding PAS 223 to its certification scheme. Once this is finalized, it would enable certification to be recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

NSAI provide accredited ISO 22000 certification services to all businesses throughout the food chain through our group of highly experienced Irish based auditors.

Certification to ISO 22000 standards with NSAI ensures your organisation is adopting industry-recognized best practice for your sector of the food industry through auditing to an internationally derived and approved standard whilst benchmarking against best practices from across the food industry.

NSAI is accredited to deliver FSSC 22000 / ISO 22000 certification and can provide an integrated approach allowing for the cost effective assessment of quality, environmental, health and safety, energy and product certification systems.