Food safety is a global concern. Food reaches consumers via supply chains that may link many different types of organizations and that may stretch across multiple borders. One weak link can result in unsafe food that is dangerous to health and when this happens, the hazards to consumers can be serious and the cost to food chain suppliers considerable. Also, pressure from consumers, retailers, environment and ecological groups and legislative bodies affects the whole food chain from farm to fork. As food safety hazards can enter the food chain at any stage, adequate control throughout is essential. While much of our food supply is safe, several recent high profile cases around the world underline the potential danger of food borne illness to consumers, employees and brand value. For these reasons, global retailers, distributors, food manufacturers and food service companies are now concerned more about the safety of their food supply chain than ever before.
Organisations in the food sector need to manage risks, demonstrate corporate responsibility and meet legal and customer requirements if they are to remain competitive, protect their reputation and enhance their brand. Today food safety systems need to take into account not only food regulations and basic hygienic conditions for food preparation, but also a systematic approach to controlling food safety hazards so that food is safe for the consumer. This includes contingency plans for potential crises such as product recall and withdrawal. All these issues need consideration when developing a food safety management system. Food safety is a joint responsibility of all stakeholders in the food chain and requires their combined efforts.
What is ISO 22000:2005?
ISO 22000 is an international standard and defines the requirements of a food safety management system covering all organizations in the food chain. ISO 22000 has been developed to aid harmonization of approaches to managing food safety, not for just one part of the food chain, but for all organizations in the food chain and for those organizations supplying to the food chain, materials and services that could impact on the safety of food. The standard combines the key elements to enable management of food safety along the food chain including: integrating the principles of HACCP and application steps developed by Codex Alimentarius Commission; system management; control of food safety hazards through pre-requisite programmes and HACCP plans; interactive communication with suppliers, customers, regulators and consumers and, continual improvement and updating of the management system.
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Benefits of achieving certification to as per ISO 22000 include
- Customer satisfaction – through delivery of products that consistently meet customer requirements including quality, safety and legality
- Reduced operating costs – through continual improvement of processes and resulting operational efficiencies
- Operational efficiencies: by integrating pre-requisite programs (PRP’s & OPRP’s), HACCP with the Plan-Do-Check-Act philosophies of ISO 9001:2008 to increase the effectiveness of the Food Safety Management System
- Improved stakeholder relationships – including staff, customers and suppliers
- Legal compliance: by understanding how statutory and regulatory requirements impact the organization and its customers and testing compliance through internal audits and management reviews
- Improved risk management – through greater consistency and traceability of product