Today food is subject to a dazzling array of different standards, all of which aim to assure the safety and quality of the final product eg. Codex HACCP, Dutch HACCP, BRC-IoP, EurepGAP, German IFS, SQF, etc. The result is a plethora of various food sector / country specific standards which confuse and overwhelm food producers and distributors. ISO 22000 aims to harmonize most of these standards if not all and bridge the gap between ISO 9000 and HACCP.
ISO 22000 - What is the standard about?
ISO 22000 specifies the requirements for a food safety management throughout the food chain where the organisation:
" Needs to demonstrate its ability to provide safe food that meets customer and regulatory requirements and
" Aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective control of food safety hazards, including processes for updating the system.
ISO 22000 is an auditable standard and will include other documents including guidance and traceability.
Scope of ISO 22000
The system is meant to be applicable for all feed and food producers including crop producers, animal farms, food processing, food manufacturing and preparation, warehousing, retailing and service.
Objectives of ISO 22000
" International and applicable to the entire food chain
" Compliance with the Codex HACCP Principles
" Harmonize the voluntary international standards
" Provide an auditable standard that can be used either for internal audits, self-certification or third party certification and registration
" The structure is aligned with the eight clauses of ISO 9001:2000
" Provide communication of HACCP concepts internationally
" Suitable for regulators
" System approach rather than product approach
Deliverables of ISO 22000
" Can be used as the basis of any food safety management system, with or without third party certification
" Addresses requirements (assesses and implements) food safety concerns of customers and regulators
" Combines recognised key food safety elements along the food chain
" System management ( ISO 9000 approach )- the most effective food safety systems are designed, operated and updated within the framework of a structured management system and incorporated into the overall management activities of the organisation. ISO 22000 will take due consideration of the requirements of ISO 9001:2000 in order to enhance compatibility of the two standards and to allow their joint or integrated implementation.
" Interactive Communication along the food chains i.e. with both suppliers and customers based on information arising from a systematic hazard analysis to ensure end product safety. This communication will require planning and maintaining.
" Hazard Control - Effective systems that are capable of controlling food safety hazards to acceptable levels in end products that are delivered to the next link in the food chain require the balanced integration of Pre-requisite programmes and a detailed HACCP plan. ISO 22000 will effectively combine both using the hazard analysis to ensure hazard control. The concept of pre-requisite programmes is also clarified which are of two sub-categories: infrastructure and maintenance programmes - used to address the basic requirements of food hygiene and accepted good practice of a more permanent nature ( eg. premises, preventive maintenance, calibration, etc ) & operational programmes - used to control or reduce the impact of identified food safety hazards in the product or processing environment (eg. time - temperature control , metal detection, etc )
Benefits for users of ISO 22000
" Organised and targeted communication among trade partners
" Resource optimisation, internally and along food chain
" Improved documentation
" Better planning, lesser post - process verification
" Systematic maintenance of pre-requisite programmes
" Increased due diligence
" Controlled focus on what is necessary
" Valid basis for taking decisions as each control measure is subject to hazard analysis
" Saves resources by reducing overlapping system audits
Impact on Indian food market
The ISO 22000 standard will provide a valid basis for regulatory bodies in assessing compliance of systems with respect to operating conditions, processes and products with regulatory standards. In a country like India, where food safety standards are questionable, supplier certification status will gain due significance and certification to the auditable standard will become essential for preferred supplier status. Also with the current plethora of different standards worldwide, non-certification status of the organisation with the standard acceptable in a particular country poses to be a trade barrier. This single international auditable standard will be acceptable in any part of the world and facilitate exports from India.
While companies already certified to the ISO 9001: 2000 and the HACCP standard will only require to upgrade their current systems those organisations which have a single or no certification status will have to implement the standard to be competitive both locally and worldwide.
ISO 22000 - The current status
The Draft International Standard ISO/DIS 22000 being developed by working group WG 8, of ISO Technical Committee ISO / TC 34 is expected to be available as an International Standard by September, 2005.
Today, maintaining cleaning and hygiene standards has become a key business necessity. And the growing awareness about food safety issues and food safety management has given rise to the need for Food Safety Consultancy Services to help the hospitality sector, audit and maintain the requisite food safety standards at par with international standards.
JohnsonDiversey India Pvt. Ltd, a major player in the health and hygiene products, has launched Food Safety Consultancy Service in India. With this service, JohnsonDiversey has introduced Safekey, a comprehensive food safety portfolio, which includes food safety solutions ranging from risk management consulting to essential cleaning and sanitation chemicals. The food safety service addresses details of every aspect of planning, training and usage of the internationally accepted food safety products and processes.
The food safety consultancy portfolio of JohnsonDiversey comprises mainly three parts, which include food safety training, food safety audits and consulting and support services. The food safety training helps transform educational skills into application skill by providing required training to all food personnel from management to operational level to develop, implement and manage food safety operations in a result oriented manner.
Similarly, the food safety audit service caters to regular verification of the required food safety practices to assess ongoing compliances, suitability and effectiveness. The consulting and support service would assist food business in developing the required food safety practices and policies like HACCP, food safety manuals, document and record control procedures, standard sanitary operational procedures, internal auditing protocols and recording formats etc, through process based approach.
-- The author is, Manager, Food Safety Hygiene Johnson Diversey India Pvt Ltd