Consumers not only want to know where their food is coming from, but also are more concerned about food safety. The globalization of food production to meet the ever-growing needs of increasing populations means food supply chains have evolved into longer and more complex businesses than ever before. Rapid and widespread growth has increased the risk of food safety incidents.
To help mitigate the risks, many regional and customized food safety standards have evolved in order to enhance food safety and address the issues raised by manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and consumers. At a global level, ISO 22000 provides the specification for an international management system for food safety across the supply chain. Tailor-made for the food manufacturing and packaging industry, FSSC 22000 provides the specifications necessary to build on ISO 22000 and meet the standards set by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Guidance Document (version 6), including prerequisite programs (PRPs).
FSSC 22000 covers the following activities within the food supply chain:
- Perishable animal products,
- Perishable vegetal products,
- Products with a long shelf life at ambient temperature,
- (Bio)chemical manufacturing,
- Food and feed for animals (manufacture), and
- Food packaging manufacture (food containers in direct and non-direct contact with food).
Why FSSC 22000 Works
FSSC 22000 incorporates many of the principles of other GFSI-approved food safety standards and combines them in a single approach. It is a business management tool that successfully links food safety and business processes.
FSSC 22000 stipulates measurable senior management commitment and requires organizations to analyze customer requirements, define processes, and demonstrate consistent control over identified hazards—updating and improving the system to adapt to changes in process, requirements, or regulations. It provides real value to an organization irrespective of size or complexity and levels the playing field for suppliers and buyers throughout the food chain and around the world.
FSSC 22000 is a comprehensive food safety management system (FSMS) standard because it:
- Is based on a management system certification scheme, so the audit approach is in line with that of other management systems;
- Can be easily integrated with your existing management
- system, such as quality, environmental, and safety management schemes;
- Fully incorporates international and independent standards of ISO 22000:2005 and PRPs, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and its application steps as set out in the Codex Alimentarius guidelines, as well as specific additional requirements regarding service specifications, specific regulatory requirements, the management of inputs, and supervision of food safety related tasks;
- Is approved by GFSI;
- Controls/reduces food safety hazards and promotes continuous improvement on food safety aspects;
- Fosters legal compliance;
- Increases transparency throughout the food supply chain; and
- Allows small and/or less developed organizations to implement an externally developed system.
In addition, FSSC 22000 has an integrity program in place to review the performance of all contracted certification bodies to ensure they are meeting the specific FSSC requirements.
Successful implementation can realistically be achieved in three to six months, depending on the complexity of the operation. An organization already ISO 22000 compliant may be able to achieve certification more quickly.
Any organization choosing to implement FSSC 22000 should appoint a management representative, with overall responsibility for the system, to oversee and drive the project. It is also recommended that relevant personnel undertake training to ensure a thorough understanding of what is required and how the standard can be implemented in their organization.
HACCP is the starting point for any implementation, followed by an internal audit and management review. It is also good practice to conduct a gap analysis before the full certification audit.
Safer Food Suppliers
FSSC 22000 enables organizations to meet the needs of clients, at the same time as improving their own operating systems, thereby becoming more efficient, more effective, and able to produce better quality products consistently. The standard incorporates the food safety benefits of a HACCP-based program, the cornerstone of all food standards, with added focus on the quality aspects of production managed by the core of ISO 9001 quality management principles. As a FSMS, FSSC 22000 places emphasis on continuous improvement rather than one-off compliance, in the drive to deliver consistently safe, quality products.
A relatively young certification scheme, FSSC 22000 has grown from 1,000 certifications in 2012 to 7,000 in early 2014, including 900 for food packaging manufacture. Food manufacturers seeking to meet retailers’ compliance standards, as well as those looking to extend their capabilities and reach new clients, are choosing FSSC 22000. Developed by a non-profit foundation, unallied to any specific stakeholder, FSSC 22000 certification enables manufacturers to focus their food safety efforts on scientific and technical advances, and their audit resources on improvement rather than compliance.
Understanding the Requirements
To fully understand the certification requirements of FSSC 22000 it is important to include an overview of ISO 22000:2005 and PRPs, as they form the core of the FSSC 22000 scheme.