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. NQA offers the following:
ISO/FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS).
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 through incorporated in the FSSC 22000 system requirements is independently GFSI approved.
FSSC 22000 is benchmarked and recognized by the GFSI with a focus at food manufacturing related to meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and fish products; vegetal, fruit and juices, as well as food and beverage products with a long shelf life at ambient temperature. Recently the FSSC 22000 scope has been expanded to include limited chemical manufacturing; vitamins, additives and bio-cultures.
Other areas of the food chain also embraced by recent changes in FSSC 22000 program include; manufacturing of animal food, primary production of animal products, such as milk, fish, eggs, honey as well as a growing food packaging program.
Choosing the right program depends on an organizations needs and customer expectations, we would be happy to discuss each program requirements and applicability to your organization. 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. 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 break down 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.
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 it is expected that unannounced visits will be required as a result of the 2016 GFSI program.
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