Worldwide there is a trend towards 3rd party certification for food safety management systems. ISO 22000 is a set pf requirements for a food safety management system (FSMS), developed to fill the need for a worldwide food safety standard.
There have been many food safety standards in use, but the standards were not equivalent. It was hard to know what each certification really meant. Two improvements have taken place in recent years.
If your customers have asked for a GFSI recognized certification, you will need to use FSSC 22000. ISO 22000 is not recognized. This is because GFSI determined that the prerequisite programs requirements were not specific enough. To address this concern the FSSC 22000 scheme was developed based on ISO 22000 but with an additional document for specific prerequisite program requirements. This document, ISO/TS 22002-1 is used along with ISO 22000 to make up the FSSC 22000 certification scheme.
Because the prerequisite requirements in ISO 22000 are not specific to food manufacturing the scope of the standard is more broad. It can be applied to any stage of the supply chain. FSSC 22000 is more limited in scope. When ISO/TS 22002-1 is used, the certification is applicable to food processors/manufactures. If the PAS 223 is used the certification applies to food packaging manufacturers. The FSSC scope will continue to expand as new prerequisite program specifications are developed for different industry sectors. ISO 22000 contains the requirements for the management system, and it applies in both the ISO 22000 certifications and FSSC 22000 certifications. The requirements are found in sections 4 through 8 of the standard. Sections 1-3 contain information, but not requirements.
This section has the overall, general requirements that your organization build an effective food safety management system and keep it current. You will do this by following the more detailed requirements contained in the rest of the standard. Like any good management system, this one must be documented, and documents kept current and controlled. You will also need to keep records to demonstrate your compliance with the system.
Without management involvement and commitment the system will not get far. Resources must be provided by management. Establish objectives that support the food safety policy and create a culture where employees know that meeting requirements is expected and valued. Your food safety policy is used to communicate what you want to achieve with your food safety management system. Make it a strong statement about your commitment to providing safe product. Management will continue to be involved in the maintenance and improvement of the system. Management review is one tool you will use to evaluate and improve the performance of the system.
People are one of the resources you will need to provide. Your employees must be qualified and trained for the positions and responsibilities that they have. You will also need a work environment and infrastructure that is sufficient to produce safe product. Make sure that facilities provide the conditions needed.
Section 7 addresses the actual production of your product, from planning to realization. This includes identifying a food safety team, establishing and implementing prerequisite programs, gathering information for hazard analysis, conducting hazard analysis and preparing a HACCP Plan, identifying verification and validation activities, traceability, and control of nonconforming product.
The system must be validated, verified and improved. The section requires processes for control of measuring and monitoring, system verification including internal audits and continual improvement to the system. The system must also be continually updated as the result of changes and results of evaluation and verification activities.