A foodborne disease incident can be devastating for any organization that supplies food to the U.S. market. The cost of a food safety recall is typically millions of dollars and can result in the closing of food processing plants. To minimize this risk, many companies in the supply chain require that their supplier’s implement and maintain HACCP programs.
HACCP is not a new concept. When the Pillsbury Co. (Minneapolis, Minn.) developed HACCP in the late 1950s, it consisted of three principles. In 1997, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX) published an international standard that defined HACCP as five preliminary steps, and seven principles that are supported by prerequisite programs.
HACCP continues to evolve. Advances in the quality management field allowed food processors to develop a complete food safety management system. This further reduced the risk of creating a food safety incident. During this time, a number of countries including: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the U.S. developed national food safety management standards. In addition, a number of organizations developed third party audit programs of sanitation and HACCP programs. Examples include:
- Food Marketing Institute and SQF program;
- Food Products Association and FPA-Safe Food Audit;
- British Retail Consortium and the BRC Global Standard;
- CIES – The Food Business Forum and the Global Food Safety initiative.
All of these standards and audit programs are similar but slightly different. As a result, there was an international effort to harmonize the standards into a single ISO standard. ISO 22000 was published in 2005, and defines a state-of-the-art food safety management system (Table 1). The standard has the following characteristics:
- Utilizable by all organizations in the food chain;
- Combines the recognized food safety system elements as defined by CODEX;
- Provides an auditable standard that could be used as part of third party certification;
- Ensures that the process used to control food safety is validated, verified, implemented, monitored and managed;
- Focuses only on a food safety.
The working group that developed ISO 22000 intended that ISO 22000 would not replace ISO 9001. Instead, they intended that a food processor use both standards: ISO 22000 to address a food safety management system (FSMS) and ISO 9001 to address a quality management system. Both standards are compatible and have similar structures.