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F&B SPECIALS

Multiple benefits with ISO standards in food chain
Wednesday, 01 May, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Sanjay Indani and Khushbu Shah
The world’s population is growing rapidly, and many food products repeatedly cross national boundaries to meet the rising demand for food. International standards help to address this challenge in a safe and sustainable way, through guidance and best practices in food production methods and testing, to promote safety, quality and efficiency across the entire food industry.

ISO standards are developed by groups of experts within technical committees (TCs). TCs are made up of representatives from industry, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments and other stakeholders who are put forward by ISO’s members.

Each TC deals with a different subject. These include food safety or specific food products like tea or meat. These committee are often in close collaboration with other relevant international or intergovernmental organisations.

Beneficiaries of food standards Industry
All players in the food supply chain, be they farmers, manufacturers or retailers, can benefit from the guidelines and best practice contained in ISO standards, which range from food harvesting to product packaging. In addition, internationally agreed standards help food producers meet legal and regulatory requirements.

Regulators
Regulators can rely on best practice test methods and harmonised terminology that are constantly reviewed and improved, as a technical basis for regulation and policy.

Consumers
ISO standards address issues relevant to consumers, such as food safety, nutritional labelling, hygiene, food additives and more. They give consumers the peace of mind that comes with knowing the food they consume meets high standards for safety and quality and contains what it is printed on the label.

ISO 22000:2018, Food Safety Management Systems
Requirements for any organisation in the food chain set out the requirements for a food safety management system (FSMS). It defines what an organisation must do to demonstrate its ability to control food safety hazards and ensure that food is safe for consumption.

ISO 22000 is applicable to all organisations in the food and feed industries, regardless of their size or sector.

Following the same high-level structure (HLS) as other ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality management), it is designed in a way that it can be integrated into an organisation’s existing management processes, and also be used alone.

Benefits of ISO 22000:2018
ISO 22000 enables organisations to put in place an FSMS that helps them improve their overall performance when it comes to food safety.

The key potential benefits of using the standard include:
n    The ability to consistently provide food-related products and services that are safe and meet regulatory requirements
n    Improved management of risks in food safety processes
n    Demonstrating strong links to the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, which develops food safety guidelines for governments

Why were they revised?
All ISO standards are reviewed and revised regularly to make sure they remain relevant to the marketplace.

ISO 22000:2018 encompasses the latest trends and food safety requirements, and is a timely response to the rising global challenges facing the food industry.

It will also help address the growing need to ensure we can trust current food security systems and that they are sustainable.

ISO 22000:2018 includes improvements to definitions, including those that align with Codex Alimentarius.

It also provides a new understanding of the concept of risk,

distinguishing between risk at the operational level and the strategic level of a management system.

It relates to Codex Alimentarius
Codex Alimentarius, also known as the food code, is an internationally-recognised series of standards and guidelines referenced in many national laws, providing the foundation for most government authorities to ensure safe food for consumers.

It is developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), a joint venture between two agencies of the United Nations (UN), viz., the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

ISO 22000 is based on the Codex principles for food hygiene, and this enables authorities to refer to ISO 22000 in national requirements and government inspections to ensure that all the criteria for food safety are met.

(Indani is head, food safety, food safety trainer, auditor and advisor, SafeFoodz Solutions, Navi Mumbai and can be contacted at safefoodz@gmail.com. Shah, a FoSTaC trainer and assessor, can be contacted at khushbuh.22@gmail.com)

 
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