How to Implement an Effective Food Safety Management System (ISO 22000) in Your Business?

Food safety is one of the key areas of focus globally, as it affects people of all ages, gender and income level. The food supply chains cross multiple borders now, which also increases the internationalization of health risks. Food contamination is the presence of harmful chemicals and microorganisms in the food and can be caused by poor hygiene, misuse of chemicals, use of contaminated materials and inadequate storage. Food contamination can cause severe health issues and food-related diseases, and to address this problem, The International Organization for Standardization has developed ISO 22000 Certification.

What is ISO 22000- Food Safety Management System (FSMS)?

ISO 22000 Certification is an internationally accredited Food Safety Management System standard. It provides a framework for establishing and implementing food safety management and demonstrates an organization’s ability to implement appropriate controls. 

ISO 22000 standards apply to all food industries regardless of size, nature and location. It provides tools and guidance to implement and operate a food safety system and offers safe food products to consumers. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed ISO 22000 Standards to ensure food safety in the global supply chain. 

Purpose of ISO 22000 Certification- It outlines the requirements for a food safety management system and aims to provide safe and healthy food products to consumers. It integrates all the laws and regulations related to food safety and follows a holistic approach. 

Why is there a need for ISO 22000 Certification?

“A healthy body equals a healthy mind, and a healthy mind takes care of business”- Richard Branson 

According to Codex Alimentarius Commission- “Food safety is the assurance that food will not cause harm to the consumer when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended use.”

W.H.O. data shows that around 600 million people fall ill after having contaminated food, and 420,000 die annually. Children under the age of 5 carry 40% of the burden of foodborne disease, and 125,000 die annually.

The ISO 22000 Certification enables an organization to implement effective food security controls and creates a better reputation. The Importance of ISO 22000 Certification – Food Safety Management System standards are as follows:

  • Follows a preventive approach and identifies potential hazards and minimizes food-related risks. 
  • Improves an organization’s performance on overall food safety measures and ensures the safety and integrity of the food supply chain.
  • Optimizes and improves your processes and systems through continual improvement.
  • Demonstrates an organization’s resilience and robust controls to prevent contamination along the food supply chain.
  • Helps in reducing foodborne diseases 
  • Strengthens the confidence of clients and customers and creates a better reputation of your organization.

The Food Safety Management System (FSMS) helps organizations in establishing appropriate Controls and communication across the food chain. It requires the top-level management to play an active role and review the food safety management system frequently to ensure continual improvement. It applies to all the food industries, including transporters, packagers, retailers, and restaurants.  

Key Elements of ISO 22000 Certification

The ISO 22000 Certification specifies the requirements for Food Safety Management System. The key elements of ISO 22000 certification are as follows:

  • It involves the entire management in defining and developing the overall food safety policies. 
  • It requires an organization to establish effective communication across the food supply chain, as a food safety hazard can be introduced at any stage. A Sound communication system helps in minimizing food safety hazards and risks.
  • ISO 22000 Certification integrates HACCP principles and formulates appropriate strategies and action plans.  

The Implementation Process for ISO 22000 Certification

The food safety management system follows the principle of traceability as it is one of the crucial elements in ensuring food safety. The implementation process of ISO 22000 certification is as follows:

  • Appointment of the Management system
  • Conduction of an internal audit and evaluation of the management system
  • Determining the Certification body 
  • Conduction of pre-assessment audit 
  • Preparing for a stage-1 audit 
  • Conduction of stage-2 audit (on-site visit)
  • Follow-up audit 
  • Acquiring certification
  • Conducting surveillance audits and assessments annually 
  • Continual improvement  

It takes an organization around 45 days to complete the implementation of Food Security Management.  

Is ISO 22000 certification Mandatory?

The ISO 22000 certification is a voluntary standard. It offers a more coherent, focused, and integrated food security management system and complies with all the national and international laws and regulations related to food safety. It makes an organization more transparent and accountable and assures the delivery of safe and healthy food products to consumers.

Conclusion

ISO 22000 certification – Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is an internationally recognized ISO standard for food safety. It demonstrates an organization’s commitment to produce and provide safe and healthy food products and implements appropriate controls across the food supply chain. It gives a competitive edge and access to the international market to an organization. Food safety management is essential for producers as well as consumers, and it requires an organization to maintain food safety and hygiene to sustain in today’s competitive world.

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