Food & Beverage Industry Standards
As a leading accredited certification body, NQA provides certification in food safety, health, environmental and quality management standards. NQA has significant experience providing support services to the food sector and is ideally positioned to help organizations implement industry best practices.
The Food And Beverage Industry
A robust and well-managed food chain is essential to the health and well-being of all consumers and is fundamental to social and economic stability. This makes food safety a critical issue that must be managed effectively throughout the food chain, from farm to fork.
The consequences of food-borne illness can be devastating, both for the consumer and for retailers and other organizations in the supply chain. Failing to meet industry standards for food safety can result in prosecution, product recall, lost opportunities and negative publicity. In addition to food safety, the global food chain has significant impact on the environment and on the health and safety of its employees.
To meet obligations to the public and stay competitive, food and beverage companies throughout the food chain must meet high expectations for quality and safety. Certification to food and beverage industry standards can help organizations maintain legal compliance, satisfy customers, improve their brand reputation and more.
Food And Beverage Industry Standards Supported By NQA
At NQA, we know how important certification can be to the success of a food and beverage company. We can provide certification audits for a number of industry standards, including those that relate to food safety. Learn more about the food and beverage industry standards we support:
- ISO 22000: ISO 22000 is an internationally recognized food safety management standard that applies to any organization that participates in food production directly or indirectly. This includes primary producers such as farms and fisheries, processors and manufacturers of packaged or canned foods, and restaurants, hotels, caterers and other businesses that prepare food. ISO 22000 can benefit companies that transport food, supply additives or packaging or perform any other service related to food production. ISO 22000 is incorporated in the FSSC 22000 system requirements. The updated version of the standard, ISO 22000:2018, has made the structure compatible with other international standards. ISO 22000:2018 also clarifies important terms and requirements. Companies certified to the older version of ISO 22000 have until 2021 to complete the transition.
- FSSC 22000: FSSC 22000 is a food safety certification system that combines ISO 22000 with additional requirements. FSSC was developed by the Foundation for Food Safety Certification, and has global recognition from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The standard's primary goal is to ensure food safety during primary production of animal products and during manufacturing of perishable plant and animal products, products with long shelf lives at ambient temperatures, food packaging products and food and feed for animals.
What Is The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)?
The GFSI is a collaboration between retailers, manufacturers and service providers within the supply chain, and coordinated by The Consumer Goods Forum. By benchmarking standards against each other to a set of criteria, GFSI aims to reduce the duplication of retailers asking for separate, yet nearly identical, audits.
Following a number of food safety related issues, there is no doubt for the need for food safety certification to enhance food safety, ensure consumer protection and to strengthen consumer confidence. The multiplicity of standards available, however, often made the process out of reach for many food suppliers. GFSI sets requirements for food safety schemes through a benchmarking process in order to improve cost efficiency throughout the food supply chain.
What this means for many companies is that a single food safety audit will be recognized by multiple retailers.
We have extensive experience working with businesses in the food and beverage industry. Since our founding, we have issued more than 43,000 certificates in more than 90 countries. Our clients range from highly recognizable brands to small businesses and charities.
Our knowledgeable auditors participate in standards writing and sit on technical committees in the food and beverage industry. This allows our team to stay up to date on developments and provide suggestions for improvement at every audit.
NQA can provide ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 certification, as well as other services like online, in-house and classroom training courses for employees.
The certification processes for ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 are similar. However, the FSSC 22000 program uses a prerequisite checklist for a much deeper dive into controls, records and methods, which does lead to a slight increase in auditing and reporting time. All our audits for food and beverage certification follow these three steps:
1. Stage One Audit
Sometimes called a document review, this step consists of an in-depth review of an organization's food safety management system, including FSMS, HACCP plans, GMPs, Prerequisite requirements, operational Prerequisite requirements, Recall plans and food safety team activity. Dependent on local and international regulations, you will be required to present details to the auditor for review and inclusion in the audit report.
It is not unusual for the stage one visit to extend to multiple days dependent on the complexity of products and programs as the breakdown of audit time is looked at as a single entity and not a direct division of time between stage one and two activities.
As a result of the stage one visit, your auditor may recommend proceeding to stage two with no further action, proceeding under caution and after undertaking corrective action or carrying out a repeat of the stage one after addressing a comprehensive list of issues identified during the audit.
2. Stage Two Audit
Sometimes called an assessment, this audit involves a real-world test of your food safety management system. Auditors will work directly with your team to verify that best practices are being followed at every step of the production chain. You can except to be reviewed for employee training and preparedness, HACCP procedures and more.
Covering all processes, shift patterns and employees, your facility will be checked inside and out for compliance to the food safety standard/FSSC 22000 requirements. Your auditor will provide a comprehensive report on good practice, risks, non-conformances and provide valuable observations on improvement opportunities. As a result of a successful assessment your auditor may recommend registration with or without the submission of corrective action dependent on findings.
The initial audit will allow us to verify the effectiveness of the scope defined by your application according to the activity you operate.
If you are an FSSC registered client and our auditor team realize your company does not meet the certification requirements for all parts of the scope of certification, the scope will be reduced to exclude those parts that persistently or seriously failed to meet them. You will be informed in writing within three days after the last day of the audit or any other intervention and the decision will be then confirmed. You will then be instructed to inform your clients accordingly through various forms of communication such as advertising and/or product labeling where applicable.
If you apply for a scope extension, this will be analyzed independently based on risk and the review may be conducted during a surveillance visit.
3. Ongoing Surveillance
Your certification will be subject to an ongoing surveillance and re-certification program which will require further on-site activity.
It should be noted that one unannounced visit is mandated for FSSC 22000 version 4.1. You can choose to have both surveillance audits unannounced, but initial and recertification activities will always be announced.
At NQA, we are dedicated to providing clients with value for their investment. When you choose NQA as your accredited third-party certification body, you will have the support you need to stay on top of food and beverage industry certification requirements. Our world-class technical support and competitive rates set us apart.
Get Started Today
Do your part to ensure global food safety while strengthening stakeholder relationships and simplifying risk management. To get started, contact us online to request a quote or learn more about the services we offer for the food and beverage industry.