Like any other industry group, responsible food manufacturers work to maintain strict safety standards to ensure that their products can be enjoyed by all, without fear of health risks. But the food supply chains can extend across various countries with different standards, and involve many different organizations and subcontractors. Prior to reaching consumers, food production is affected by companies from feed producers and canners to truckers and retail stores. One weak link–a single ingredient or poorly operated farm–can result in unsafe food that is dangerous to consumers. This is a hazard to public health that can incur huge costs and adverse publicity for the firms in the food chain.
ISO 22000:2005, is a new International Standard, is designed to ensure safe food supply chains worldwide. ISO 22000, “Food safety management systems – Requirements for any organization in the food chain,” was intended to be compatible with the current tools for food safety management, ISO 9001:2000 and HACCP, and to extend its reach for greater diligence.
ISO 22000 was published in September 2005, to provide a framework of requirements, and confirm a global approach for an international industry. The standard was developed within ISO by experts from the food industry, along with representatives of specialized international organizations. Additional cooperation came from the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was established by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to develop food standards.
The Codex HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is widely accepted as an essential tool for managing food safety especially when combined with an auditable management system. In fact, ISO 22000 will make it easier for organizations worldwide to implement the Codex HACCP system for food hygiene in way that will be consistent regardless of the specific food product or the country involved.
Previously, more than 20 different national standards had arisen, creating uneven levels of food safety, adding costs and complications. The new standard was needed to curtail the costs and hardship involved in food-borne illnesses, particularly in developing countries. ISO 22000 is backed by international consensus, generating requirements for good practice on a worldwide basis.
New Standards Bring Benefits
Food suppliers who develop safety management systems that conform to ISO 22000 can be certified – giving them an advantage in a food industry that is seeking increased accountability. ISO 22000 also incorporates the principles of HACCP, and covers those key hygiene principals.
As food safety hazards can enter the food chain at any stage, ISO 22000 allows all types of companies to take part in food safety management systems certification. The organizations that produce the equipment, cleansers, additives, ingredients and packaging involved in food production are also eligible.
The ISO 22000 also extends the successful ISO 9001 quality management system standard which is widely implemented in all sectors. The developers correctly anticipated that effective food safety systems would be designed and operated within the framework of a quality management system that is ISO 9001 certified, and incorporated into the overall management activities of the organization.
Customers Seek Certification
As a certified food supplier you assure your customers that your products, ingredients and equipment meet agreed-upon standards, saving the sales department time and resources. These transactions go more smoothly because your reputation for performance has already been established by your registration through an accredited registrar. In addition, you gain:
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Ongoing operational improvements
- Fewer errors and lower return rates
- Greater productivity and improved performance
- Simplified and effective documentation
- Greater audit and surveillance efficiency
Aligned with ISO 9001
While ISO 22000 can be implemented on its own, it is designed to be fully compatible with ISO 9001. Companies already certified to ISO 9001 will find it easy to extend this certification to include ISO 22000. To help users to do so, ISO 22000 includes a table showing the correspondence of its requirements with those of ISO 9001.
ISO 9001 is a standard that can be audited, providing certification and respect for the company involved. Food service firms can use 9001 and 22000 together – or extend their existing 9001 system – to meet these food safety requirements. ISO 22000 is structured in accordance with the eight clauses of ISO 9000. It is international, and can be used by any company within the entire food chain for certification and registration.