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Food & Beverage

NQA provides certification in food safety, health, environmental and quality management standards. Assisting organizations in the food sector to implement best practices. 

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 catastrophic not only for the consumer and health services but also for the retailers and other organizations in the supply chain in terms of cost (through prosecution, product recall or opportunity cost) and reputation (through negative publicity).

In addition to food safety, the global food chain has significant impact on the environment, the health and safety of employees, as well as its own unique operational requirements.

NQA has significant expertise in providing support services to the food sector and is ideally positioned to assist organizations to achieve best practice through the services below.

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 is to be recognized by many multiple different retailers.

What's Involved

ISO 22000 is an internationally recognized food safety management standard that applies to any organization directly or indirectly involved in the food chain. This includes primary producers such as farms and fisheries, processors and manufacturers of packaged or canned foods, and restaurants, hotels, caterers and other businesses in which food is prepared. 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.

FSSC 22000 is benchmarked and recognized by the GFSI with a focus at primary production of animal products, food manufacturing related to perishable animal and plant products, food and beverage products with a long shelf life at ambient temperature, limited production of (bio)chemicals, and also manufacturing of food and feed for animals, and also food packaging and packaging material.

Catering, retail/wholesale and transport and storage services are now also covered by FSSC v4.1 certification, each of them to be audited along with their relevant technical specification.  

In order to register, you will need to complete an application form that can be found on each Standard  page and send it back to us to be able to analyse your needs and which program applies according to your organization requirements.

The registration process is the same for either program, but the FSSC 22000 program uses a prerequisite checklist for a much deeper dive into controls, records and methods, which does leads to a slight increase in auditing and reporting time (carefully read FSSC 22000 standard page for further details). But the basic audit process is the same two-step process:

Step One - Stage One Audit

Sometimes called a document review, but in food safety terms in consists of an in-depth review of an organizations food safety management system including; FSMS, HACCP plans, GMP’s, Prerequisite requirements, operational Prerequisite requirements, Recall plans, and food safety team activity. Also 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, proceed under caution and after undertaking corrective action, or carry out a repeat of the stage one after addressing comprehensive list of issues identified during the audit.

Step Two - 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 an 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 3 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 labelling where applicable. 

If you apply for a scope extension, this will be analysed independently based on risk and the review may be conducted during a surveillance visit.

Ongoing - Surveillance Program

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. 

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