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Different types of food certifications
Thursday, 30 June, 2022, 13 : 00 PM [IST]
Joshna Joseph
Food certifications help the manufacturers to maintain and follow proper rules and regulations required to produce safe and wholesome foods. Food certifications have also become important for running a food business as most of the consumers are aware of food safety requirements.

Following are the different types of food certifications available worldwide:
ISO 22000 –Food safety management:
ISO 22000 can be used by any organization within the food supply chain. The standard integrates the principles of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. By means of auditable requirements, it combines the HACCP plan with prerequisite programs as well as other food safety system requirements. Control Union Certification provides globally accredited certification in this standard across a wide range of food chain categories.

These include food manufacturing, feed production, storage and distribution or the production of packaging and packaging material. ISO 22000 certification is intended for organizations seeking to establish a more focused, coherent and integrated FSMS than is normally required by law. The standard requires meeting any applicable food safety related statutory and regulatory criteria into its food safety system. ISO is not GFSI certified and is an independent certification body.

FSSC 22000:
Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) is a robust, ISO-based, internationally accepted certification scheme for auditing and certification of food safety within the food and beverage manufacturing sector. FSSC 22000 uses the existing standards ISO 22000, ISO 22003 and technical specifications for sector prerequisite programs (PRPs), which were developed through wide and open consultation with a large number of related organizations.
FSSC 22000 is the next logical step for ISO 22000 certified manufacturers wanting to upgrade their certification to a GFSI recognised Standard.

FSSC has published version 5.1 of the FSSC 22000. The main reasons for the release of v5.1 are to:
    • Strengthen the licensing process and the integrity program
    • Comply with GFSI Benchmarking Requirements (Version 2020.1)
    • Include of the most recent Board of Stakeholders list of decisions and continual improvement process

FSSC 22000 implementation benefits
    • Provides a systematic methodology to effectively identify and manage food safety risks
    • ISO-based certification model can be used across the whole food supply chain
    • Recognized by the GFSI and by the European cooperation for Accreditation (EA)
    • Flexibility allowing you to determine how your business will meet the scheme requirements for the structure and documentation of your food safety management system

FSSC 22000 operational benefits
    • Facilitates internal benchmarking and management through consistent application across multiple/international sites
    • Promotes the review of and continual improvement of your food safety management system

FSSC 22000 organisational benefits
    • Shows your commitment to food safety, providing confidence to your customers
    • Improved employee engagement, increasing awareness of food risks and promotion of safety
    • Commitment to continuous improvement of the food safety system and its performance

BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global standards) is a scheme designed to harmonize food safety standards across the supply chain. Today, it is globally recognized across food and non-food industries as one of the most rigorous third-party certification schemes.

BRCGS certification is often a fundamental requirement of leading retailers, manufacturers, and food service organizations. By achieving BRCGS certification, you communicate to your customers that your products are safe, legal, and of high quality.

The following criteria are assessed during certification under BRC Global Food Standards:
    • Senior management commitment and the development of a culture of product safety
    • Significant food safety hazards for products and processes, to ensure the safety of products based on hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and a food safety plan
    • Quality management systems for the documentation of organizational and management policies and procedures
    • Environmental and operational conditions necessary for the production of safe food
    • Development of food fraud prevention systems to protect the site from purchasing fraudulent materials
    • Encouraging sites to develop robust systems for product security and food defense
    • Requirements for high-risk, high-care, and ambient high-care production risk zones

The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognized food safety certification covering all stages of the food supply chain through industry-specific codes ranging from primary production through to food manufacturing, distribution, food packaging and retail.
Certification to SQF will demonstrate manufacturer’s commitment to a preventative, risk-based food safety management system, with the added benefits of:
    • Recognition of the organizations commitment to a GFSI best practice food safety certification program, providing your customers, consumers, government enforcement and trade agencies with assurance that effective control systems are in place
    • Process improvement through proactively identifying and managing food safety hazards and regulatory requirements to avoid stock recoveries, market withdrawal and rework
    • Options to add quality attributes to your certification which allows for the use of a quality shield to be displayed on the product and marketing
    • Consistent application across sites, facilitating internal benchmarking and strategic risk management for multi-site operations
    • Additional support provided by SQFI with a full-time customer service and support centre, access to free webinars supporting the implementation and maintenance of the SQF System and retailer feedback about consumer concerns to keep you a step ahead of your competitors.

The standardised IFS Food evaluation system helps to reduce the need for repeat audits, which saves time and money. The programme also helps to improve the understanding of quality and safety processes across the organisation and throughout the entire supply chain, providing standards that deliver uniformity and transparency.
Benefits to IFS Food certification
    • Enhance your brand image
    • Build consumer confidence
    • Open your way to new market opportunities

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), is an internationally accepted technique for preventing microbiological, chemical and physical contamination along the food supply chain.

The HACCP technique does this by identifying the risks, establishing critical control points, setting critical limits, and ensuring control measures are validated, verified and monitored before implementation.

The effective implementation of HACCP will enhance the ability of companies to: protect and enhance brands and private labels, promote consumer confidence and conform to regulatory and market requirements.

(The author is senior executive QA and regulatory at Roha Dyechem Pvt. Ltd)
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