ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems Implementation
The world has seen a rise in diseases caused by food contamination in the past. These cases are in millions, and the statistics are alarming. Before the introduction of standards to regulate food production from the primary producer to the fork, the cases were even many given that consumers had no one to fight for their rights.
Today, we still witness foodborne diseases and deaths that are related to these diseases. It is a sad story to tell as we still have some companies and businesses in the food sector that ignore these international standards simply because they are voluntary. To even give food safety more priority, the United States has other bodies that regulate these businesses and the standard set are mandatory. We have the FDA that is responsible for implementing the standards of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law in 2011.
The birth of ISO 22000
By the beginning of the year 2000, there were many standards developed by different national governments and private bodies around the world to regulate food production, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and packing. However, problems resulted when different companies started to audit their suppliers, some of which were international suppliers, using their local standards. It became more and more difficult for suppliers to meet the varying requirements that existed in the global market at that time.
By the beginning of 2001, the problem in the global market has escalated further raising much concern among the global partners involved. This pushed the International Organization for Standards (ISO) into action in the same year. ISO started working on the international standards that make it possible to audit the Food and Safety Management System (FSMS). The first version of international FSMS, which came to be known as ISO 22000, was published on 1st September 2005.
ISO 22000 provides a standard framework that combines many different prerequisite programs, steps borrowed from Codex Alimentarius Commission, HACCP principles, and different standards borrowed from ISO 9001:2000. This will make us to briefly discuss what these prerequisite programs and HACCP principles are so that we can proceed when on the same page.
Some of the prerequisite programs integrated into ISO 22000
The role of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in ISO 22000
HACCP was first established in the year 1960s with only three basic principles as listed below:
HACCP was later revised in 1992 before its adoption by Codex Alimentarius Commission2 and publication as the first international standard for food safety. Many different industries adopted HACCP standards thereafter.
The 7 Principles of HACCP System
In the context of ISO 22000, we are going to leave everything about HACCP out for your own research and only highlight the principles that became the backbone of this international standard for food safety. These principles are as listed below:
- Conduct a hazards analysis
- Determine Critical Control Points
- Establish critical limits for each CCP
- Establish a monitoring system for each CCP
- Establish corrective actions
- Establish verification procedures
- Establish documentation and record-keeping
Just like HACCP, ISO 22000 is also applicable to any industry regardless of the size. You can directly see the similarities now since this standard borrows a lot from HACCP.
What is ISO 22000?
Now that we have known how and why ISO 22000 came into being, let us now define it in simple terms and plain English that everyone can understand. ISO 22000 sets international standards for Food Safety Management Systems for different companies from around the world. These standards are stated as the minimum requirements that every company or business in the food industry has to meet to be considered compliant.
The first edition of this standard, ISO 22000:2005, takes a food chain approach to enhance food safety by defining a set of goals and food safety management requirements that you and all those involved at any stage of the food supply chain have to conform to. These requirements have been accepted in the global market as international standards.
The main aim of setting up ISO 22000 was to solve the crisis that was there in the global market where different people had their own local standards or requirements that made it nearly impossible for the suppliers to meet. This is no longer the case as people can now speak the same language regarding the standards. This far, ISO 22000 only has two editions. The first edition is ISO 22000:2005 and the last edition is ISO 22000:2018, which as the name suggests, came into force in the year 2018. We may discuss the changes that came with it if time allows.
Key Elements of Food Safety ISO 220000
This international standard specifies 3 key elements to ensure that the food that gets to the final consumer is free from contamination b any germs. We will soon look at what this standard requires, but for now, let us discuss its three key elements.
Interactive communication – This standard encourages proper communication along the food supply chain as the only way through which the various potential hazards can be identified and controlled before they become real threats. This means that an organization has to encourage communication and information sharing at every level of management. It can be both upstream and downstream.
Management system – ISO 22000 is very flexible when it comes to the existing management system in the company or business. It can be applied independently without interference from any other management system or these existing management systems are what can be utilized to establish a food safety management system that complies with the standards of ISO 22000. The most important thing here is the compliance with these international standards.
HACCP principles and prerequisite programs – We have already discussed what these programs and principles are. So, we are just to inform you that ISO 22000 integrates them to create standards that make it possible to establish and maintain a hygienic environment at every stage of the food supply chain that ensures food safety.
Food Safety ISO 22000 Requirements
This standard has a set of requirements that your FSMS has to meet to be certified by an accredited third party. Whether it is ISO 22000:2005 or ISO 22000:2018, the requirements do not change much. To save you time, the following are the major requirements that you have to meet:
- Top-level management has to develop Food Safety Policy for your organization that is according to the ISO 22000 specifications
- Set achievable objective that aims at making your company or business comply with the policy
- Plan and design an FSMS and documentation system according to the international standards
- Record the performance of the FSMS and keep them for tracking and performance improvement
- Train your staff to comprises the Food Safety Management System Team
- Define a clear communication protocol that ensures effective communication within your organization and it should also address how your organization communicates with the outside world, that is, customers, suppliers, investors, and other business partners.
- Create an emergency plan
- Regularly hold a management review meeting to discuss the performance of your Food Safety Management System
- Provide all the needed resources for better operation of FSMS including offering training for all the staff members who are involved in the operation of this system.
- Strictly follow the HACCP principles
- Create an effective system for tracking your product and recalling when necessary
- Establish an effective corrective plan to deal with any nonconformities accordingly
- Create and maintain a procedure for documenting any cases of product withdrawal
- Control all the devices that you are using in the monitoring and measuring of FSMS performance
- Establish and maintain an internal audit program through regular training
- Continually improve the FSMS based on the performance results
Who is Food Safety ISO 22000 for?
This is a generic standard that applies to every organization all over the world provided it is involved in any stage of the food supply chain. It also never matters what the size of your organization is. You can choose to comply with ISO 22000 standards or not, but the benefits and consequences will greatly impact your business activities.
The organizations that are mostly targeted by these standards are those involved in food processing, distribution, packing, manufacturing, supplying, and many other activities that change food from one form to another. We also have those companies and businesses that are indirectly dependent on food products. These too can benefit from the ISO 22000 standards.
Organization Elements Used by ISO 220000
The integration of different ISO standards is very useful when it comes to implanting new systems on top of the already existing system. This makes the implementation very simple without the need to do an overhaul to your organization management and restructure all the management systems. That is the case with Iso 22000. We have hinted about this in the opening paragraphs about what this standard is, but we are now going to get into details of these elements. They include the following:
The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle
Almost every ISO standard has the PDCA element and Iso 22000 is not an exception to that. This structure makes it possible for different organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve their different movement system. It is also used for the same purpose in the case of FSMS.
- Plan – This is the first stage that involves setting the objectives of FSMS, allocating the needed resources, and identification of any potential risks and addressing them.
- Do – Implement your plan when everything is done.
- Check – Monitor the FSMS performance by analyzing the results measured.
- Act – Implement any necessary measures to improve the performance of FSMS.
ISO 22000 uses a high-level structure following the Annex SL format. Using this same shared structure makes it easier to impellent different ISO standards without having to redo many processes that have already been done when implementing other international standards.
Annex SL has 10 main elements in its structure, which are the exact things that are used in the implementation of ISO 220000. We are not going into the details of each but just state these elements. Check them out below:
- Normative references
- Terms and definitions
- The context of the organization
- Performance evaluation
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