Officially called ISO 22000, Food Safety Management Systems - Requirements for any organization in the food chain, ISO 22000 is an international standard and defines the requirements of a Food Safety Management Systems covering all organisations in the food chain from “farm to fork”, including catering and packaging companies.
There has been a continuous increase in consumer demand for safe food. This has led to the development of numerous food safety standards. The growing number of national standards for food safety management has led to confusion. Consequently, there is a need for international harmonization and ISO aims to meet this need with ISO 22000.
The standard combines generally recognized key elements to ensure food safety along the food chain including: interactive communication; system management; control of food safety hazards through pre-requisite programmes and HACCP plans; and continual improvement and updating of the management system.
ISO 22000 is intended to define the requirements for companies that desire to exceed the regulatory requirements for food safety.
Who should use the standard?
As food safety hazards may be introduced at any stages of the food chain, adequate control throughout the food chain is essential. Thus food safety is a joint responsibility that is principally assured through the combined efforts of all the parties participating in the food chain.
ISO 22000 may therefore apply to, and not be limited to: -
- Primary food producers through to food manufacturers, including food processors
- Retail and food service outlets
- Feed producers
- Transport operators and storage operators
- Producers of equipment and packaging material
- Producers of cleaning agents, additives and ingredients
Benefits to users
Benefits for organizations implementing ISO 22000 include: -
- Resource optimization - internally and along the food chain
- More efficient and dynamic food safety hazard control
- All control measures subjected to hazard analysis
- Better planning, less post process verification
- Improved documentation
- Saves resources by reducing overlapping system audits - how?
- Systematic management of prerequisite programmes
- Control focused on what is necessary
- Widely applicable because it is focused on end results
- Organized and targeted communication among trade partners (repeated below)
- Valid basis for taking decisions
- Increased due diligence
- Dynamic communication on food safety issues with suppliers, customers, regulators and other interested parties
- A systematic and proactive approach to identification of food safety hazards and development and implementation of control measures.
Further benefits include: -
- Confidence that the organizations which are implementing the standard have the ability to identify and control food safety hazards
- Provides a reference for the whole food chain
- Contributes to a better understanding and further development of Codex HACCP
- System approach, rather than product approach
- Fills a gap between ISO 9001 and HACCP
- Provides a framework for third party certification
- Auditable standard with clear requirements
- Suitable for regulators
- Provides potential for harmonization of National standards.