Food Safety Management Registration Systems:
ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000
By Cynthia Weber
Food safety is making headlines more and more frequently. What
can you do to keep your company from negative headlines?
Ensuring food safety is increasingly important in our global market.
Can a Food Safety Management System, ISO 22000 or FSSC 22000,
The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) created the
very successful quality management system standard ISO 9001,
used worldwide by over 700 thousand companies. So as the need
for an international standard for the food industry became
apparent, ISO started a working group to develop a Food Safety
Management System. The goal was to be able to encourage
harmonization of the many national and private standards in
existence and add the management systems approach of ISO 9001.
Starting with many of the same concepts as the Quality
Management Standard, changing the focus to food safety
management, and incorporating PRP and HACCP principles led to
what is now ISO 22000. This standard can be applied to any
company in the food chain, from field to store.
How does ISO 22000 compare with other food safety standards?
You can think of ISO 22000 as a standard that takes the approach
of ISO 9001 as a management system, incorporates the hygiene
measures of Prerequisite programs, and adds HACCP principles and
criteria. You now have the best of the management system
approach added to the well established PRP and HACCP programs.
Build your food safety management system based on ISO 22000
and you will benefit from the best of both worlds- a management
system approach combined with the best food safety practices.
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) added one additional
document, the PAS 220 and created the FSSC 22000 Certification
Scheme. It is important to food manufacturers who want to sell to
retailers that require a GFSI approved certification. In order to
achieve FSSC 22000 certification, a manufacturer will implement a
system that complies with both the ISO 22000 requirements and
the PAS 220 requirements.
As stated earlier, there are many existing food safety standards, but
they vary widely in content, levels, and evaluation. To sell in a
global food market, an internationally consistent standard is a
benefit to everyone. So what is required in order to be ISO or FSSC
First of all, management must support the effort. They will need to
be providing the resources required to build and maintain this Food
Safety Management System (FSMS). Once you have management
commitment you will need to design and document the system.
Start with your food safety policy and quality objectives. The policy
must state your commitment to quality, and the quality objectives
must support it.
It is a documented system, meaning you will write procedures and
work instructions to describe the approved method of performing
your processes. These procedures and work instructions must be
controlled, so your next task is creating a document control system.
Your documents will only be effective if people are using the most
current, approved document. The document control system will be
a critical part of your FSMS.
Identify what records are required. Consider regulatory
requirements as you make your list. You will need to determine how
long records must be maintained and establish a system of
accumulating and storing your records so that they are always
legible, retrievable and protected.
The FSMS requires that you establish a food safety team and team
leader. This team will have many responsibilities in building and
maintaining the FSMS and must have the knowledge and skills to
fulfill the responsibilities. Consider the make up of this team
Establish systems for internal and external communication to
ensure that information on issues concerning food safety is
available throughout the food chain. You will need to be able to
communicate with suppliers, contractors, customers and statutory
and regulatory agencies. Information may include food safety
aspects of products that are relevant to other organizations in the
food chain, especially as pertains to known hazards that need to be
controlled by others.
An important part of the management systems approach,
management review of the quality management system, must take
place on a regular basis. Management review is a meeting that is
devoted to evaluating the performance of the FSMS. Top
management will evaluate data generated by the FSMS to determine
what action should be taken to address problems and to drive
continual improvement of the system.
Part of the commitment to the FSMS is providing required
resources. Resources include providing qualified, trained
employees, and appropriate infrastructure and work environment.
The facilities and conditions must be appropriate to ensure safe
The processes of producing your food product or delivering your
service are called product or service “Realization Processes”. These
processes must be carefully planned. Prerequisite programs (PRPs)
must be in place to address the basic conditions and activities that
are necessary to maintain a hygienic environment for the realization
processes. This may include: good agricultural practices, good
veterinarian practices, good manufacturing processes, good
hygienic practices, good production practice, good distribution
practices or good trading practices.
To establish PRPs, know what products are included in the FSMS,
identify what regulations apply and implement the appropriate
cleaning and sanitation, personnel hygiene practices, operation and
maintenance of equipment, handling of product, training of
employees and other relevant practices.
The food safety team will then create and implement a Hazard
Analysis and Critical Control Point plan (HACCP Plan) for each
product or process. The HACCP plan starts with some preliminary
steps such as identifying product characteristics, describing
intended use, preparing flow diagrams and describing process
steps. The team uses this information to identify hazards that can
be expected to occur, determine acceptable levels of the hazard and
select control measures. The team identifies the control point where
the hazard can be controlled, and the specific step that needs to be
taken to successfully control the hazard. The plan for controlling
the hazard must be documented and include the hazard to be
controlled, the control measure, critical limits, how the control
point will be monitored, corrections and corrective actions to be
taken if limits are exceeded, responsibilities and authorities and
The food safety team will also establish a plan for verification
activities to ensure that the PRPs are implemented, inputs to hazard
analysis are updated, the operational PRPs and HACCP plan are
implemented and effective and the hazard levels are within limits.
Verification activities make sure the HACCP system is in compliance.
A system of traceability of product must be in place. Make sure that
you can perform an effective recall if necessary. You must also be
able to control any nonconforming product. Document your process
to control affected product when critical control limits are
exceeded. Include taking action to identify and eliminate the cause
of nonconformity and prevent nonconforming product from
entering the food chain.
Once the system is implemented you will be verifying that it is
working on an ongoing basis. The verification will include internal
audits by your own audit team and food safety team evaluation of
the verification activities.
If you are already in the food industry, and providing a safe food
product or service, you most likely have many of these practices in
place even though they may not be formally documented. Adding
the effectiveness of a documented food safety management system
will provide your company not only the benefits of recognition of
having a management system in place, but also the benefits of
quality management and the security of producing safe product for
your customers. Take your system to the next level with a 22000
Food Safety Management System.
22000 Food Safety Management System Implementation Package:
Includes an FSMS Manual, Procedures and Forms, Computer based
Training, Presentation Materials, Audit Checklists, Implementation
Workbook and Internal Auditor Training Program on CD.