In the 20th century, humanity witnessed unparalleled socio-economic transformations, scientific breakthroughs, and technological advancements. These factors influenced various aspects, including the production, processing, and marketing of food. Countries enacted food safety laws, scientific methods were employed by companies to enhance food safety, technology enabled improved packaging and quality assurance, and public awareness experienced a significant surge. Consequently, overall, food became safer and more nutritious.
However, challenges persist in the 21st century. WHO estimates reveal that 600 million people fall ill, and 420,000 die each year due to unsafe food. The complexities of globalization and intricate supply chains make controls and traceability more challenging. Additionally, climate change poses both direct and indirect threats to food safety. In the face of these challenges, food producers must navigate new obstacles and fulfill new expectations. Fortunately, they are not alone; ISO 22000 is a valuable resource to assist them in ensuring the safety of their products and the well-being of their consumers.
A Food Safety Management System (FSMS) based on ISO 22000 not only enhances a food producer’s measures against foodborne illnesses and diseases but also boosts credibility and increases customer awareness regarding food safety.
What is ISO 22000?
ISO 22000 is an international standard outlining requirements for a food safety management system. An FSMS based on ISO 22000 provides food producers with a structured approach and essential mechanisms to manage the safety of their products and services. Within the FSMS, ISO 22000 mandates effective communication with interested parties, the implementation of a risk-based approach, establishment and maintenance of prerequisite programs, hazard control plans (OPRPs and CCPs), monitoring FSMS and food safety performance, and seeking continuous improvement opportunities.
ISO 22000 adopts a process approach, integrating the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle and risk-based thinking at organizational and operational levels. Organizations aiming to implement an FSMS based on ISO 22000 must establish a food safety policy and set food safety objectives. These policies and objectives, established by top management, should be complemented by a traceability system to track products through the supply chain.
The requirements of ISO 22000 are generic and applicable to all organizations in the food chain, irrespective of size or complexity. Developed according to the High-Level Structure (HLS), ISO 22000 aligns with other ISO management system standards. This enables organizations to integrate an FSMS with other management systems like a Quality Management System (QMS) based on ISO 9001, an Environmental Management System (EMS) based on ISO 14001, and more. Additionally, ISO 22000 encourages alignment with other guidelines, specifications, or requirements related to food safety or specific food sectors to further contribute to achieving food safety objectives.
Benefits of ISO 22000 for Food Producers
Implementing an FSMS based on ISO 22000 offers substantial benefits to food producers seeking to enhance their food safety performance. It ensures the application of adequate controls and procedures to ensure food safety.