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The World of Food Safety Management

13 February 2017
Food safety is increasingly demanded by consumers and even more so, since a few unfortunate food crises situations in recent years.

This demand, coupled with the competitive food industry, generates the need to adopt extra measures, apart from those strictly required by legal regulations, which guarantee the safety of the products.
 
Some buyers require their clients to be audited against Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) requirements. Both, HACCP and GMP are based on the Codex Alimentarius food safety requirements. 

The implementation of a HACCP system allows you to identify the value and control the hazards during preparation, processing, handling, sale and supply food related products to the consumer.

However, for the implementation of an effective HACCP, the company must be previously working towards a series of hygienic practices and environmental and operational conditions that cover the entire production process. These procedures are known as prerequisites and constitute the platform or basis for the production of safe food.

Codex Alimentarius - The International Food Standards

The original Codex was not written as an auditable scheme, as it is just a guidance document, but at NQA we certify the compliance of Codex HACCP and good hygiene practices with knowledgeable and qualified auditors.

HACCP is mandatory by law in several countries within the food businesses; any other food safety management system is voluntary compliance for organizations in the sector.

Benefits of Installing a Food Safety Management System

If the company decides to implement an auditable food safety management system, either as per their client’s requirements or as an own method for ensuring safe production, it must be clear where the destination of the products is manufactured as well as the purpose it seeks to achieve with the implementation of this system. 

Currently, a food business can choose from a variety of private auditable schemes that also include a HACCP component, such as BRC, SQF and IFS. These standards specifically define the requirements of the food safety management system, whereas the food business that chooses ISO 22000 certification, is able to implement its own system without having to follow a highly prescriptive checklist to successfully pass an audit.

Therefore, if the business wants to implement a system that will open the door to the commercialization of products worldwide, ISO 22000 standard would be a good choice. 

The difference between ISO 22000:2015 and FSSC 22000

ISO 22000:2005 certification allows us to certify the compliance of its requirements in the whole food chain, from primary sector to catering, through storage and distribution, among others. All this is to ensure safety in every link of the food chain.

FSSC 22000 defines what is expected for the production of safe food, so it is left to the business to define its prerequisite programs and HACCP Plan.

The birth of FSSC 22000 for the Global Markets

As a response to the need of the international food sector of an independent food safety scheme FSSC 22000 was introduced in 2009. This is because the ISO 22000 standard was not sufficient to achieve the Global Food Safety Initiative GFSI approval, FSSC 22000 was created to serve as an international benchmark for food safety.

FSSC 22000 uses the existing standards: ISO 22000, ISO 22003, as well as the technical specifications of each individual sector, which were developed through a wide open consultation with a large number of related organizations.
 
This system has been developed for the certification of food safety systems of organizations that process or manufacture products of animal origin, perishable vegetable products, products with a long shelf life, food ingredients such as additives, vitamins and biological cultures, as well as materials for the food packaging. The FSSC also includes on-site transport and storage, if part of the operation.

The added value of an organization with a food safety system certified with FSSC 22000 lies in the efforts made by the company to maintain this system and its commitment to continuous improvement.

The overall benefits of food safety certification

  • Evidence of a commitment to food safety
  • Greater control and knowledge about the production process and products
  • Differentiation and commercial positioning against the competitors, revaluation of the product and introduction in new markets
  • Availability of a tool to manage food safety
  • Minimization of the costs of unsafe food in the food chain
  • Compatibility with other ISO Standards
  • Optimize the traceability system within the organization and through the food chain

Through certification we ensure the production process or the product meets the requirements established by different organizations or governments. 

Each company that produce food, either as final product or as an intermediate product, can be eligible for certification, aimed at human and/or animal feed.

At NQA we offer ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 accredited certification, along with unaccredited HACCP and GMP certification to demonstrate compliance against their requirements and ensure food is safe for consumption.
 
Article written by Marta Vaquero, Food Safety Certification Manager