July 29th, 2015
Food safety is such an important consideration for both producers and consumers. In an increasingly cautious world, consumers want a detailed history of the food they eat that accounts for every step of the process. This is where an ISO 22000 certification helps both farmers and food processors.
ISO 22000 provides a Food Safety Management System with application for any organization involved in food production or food processing. The International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, developed this system in 2001 to help guide suppliers to proper certification. ISO 22000-certification generates consumer’s confidence that the food they eat is safe. Food processors require safe ingredients from their suppliers, helping to ensure safe products.
What is this Certification Based Upon?
Perhaps you have heard of a quality management system, or QMS. Quality management is a major focus in any supply chain-oriented business, focusing on meeting or exceeding customer requirements. Moving beyond QMS, this certification combines the well-known principles of HACCP and manufacturing.
ISO 22000 does not have requirements for prerequisite programs, making it much more flexible for a wide range of different food processors to use in their organizations. While this certification is not a Global Food Safety Initiative (or GSFI) standard, it nevertheless offers one of the most advanced standards for which an organization can strive.
What do You Need for ISO 22000?
In order to receive certification, food processers need to construct a Food Safety Management System. There are several elements to an effective management system:
- A prerequisite program, which outlines the roles that various factors play in the production environment for creating safe food products. These programs help reduce the likelihood of contamination in the production environment.
- A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Plan, or HACCP. We have already mentioned the importance of HAACP, and this certification requires the identification and elimination of any potential food safety hazards, including an action plan for future prevention strategies.
- A system for documenting the entire process to ensure proper food safety handling at every level in an organization. This includes management, planning, everyday communications, and any process directly involved with food processing or packaging.
One of the most important aspects of this certification is its introduction throughout a facility. A Food Safety Management System is incomplete if it only covers certain elements of the food processing facility. Upper management devises this plan, which ultimately becomes an organization’s Food Safety Policy. This reflects management’s adherence to effective food safety initiatives.
How do Organizations Create Change with ISO 22000?
The first step with any program designed to create change is to have a series of manageable goals that work alongside the proposed policy. By maintaining records of the system’s performance, management determines the effectiveness of these goals.
ISO 22000 recommends the use of several teams, including Steering Teams, Food Safety Teams, and Task Teams. Steering Teams include upper management who effectively lead the project. Food Safety Teams follow HACCP prerequisite requirements for proper food safety and handling practices. Task Teams design, document, and introduce the Food Safety Management System.
These teams meet together on a regular basis, and by working as a unit and staying in constant communication, they help devise an efficient and useful Food Safety Management System.
ISO 22000 helps food processors demonstrate to their customers, suppliers, and regulatory supervisors that their products are safe to consume. Providing a series of checks and balances helps provide these organizations with well-trained and qualified personnel working within a safe and secure facility. Using the standards of HACCP, ISO 22000 certified food processors produce products that consumers can eat with confidence, from the farm to their fork.