In the beginning there was the HACCP and I was happy with that! This was followed by GMPs, PRPs and of course ISO 22000, with all the credibility and prominence of an ISO standard. But it seems that this was still not enough. And now we have FSSC 22000, with the much sought-after acknowledgment by GFSI. Are you confused? Let’s unravel this knot of acronyms..
The food and beverage market is a highly regulated market. This is because consumers’ health is something very serious. It is therefore natural that formal means exist to ensure that the entire food productive process should be free from risks likely to adversely affect consumers’ health.
ISO 22000 and its background
ISO, with its authority in regulatory issues in general, created ISO 22000, a food safety management system applicable by companies in the food productive chain, from seed producers to delivery services.
ISO 22000 adopted the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) methodology as well as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), which are part of the Pre-Requisite Program (PRP) in terms of food safety. HACCP as well as PRPs are very familiar procedures for any company in the food business, as they provide practical instructions, albeit comprehensive with regard to the scope of application.
Prestige by GFSI
ISO 22000 is certifiable. However, in the food market there is another organization with greater credibility. This is the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative). This credibility and prestige arise from the market itself and from the major companies that adopt and support these initiatives.
GFSI is not a standard. Yet it assesses existing standards and provides its seal of acknowledgment. And guess what, ISO 22000 tried but was unable to earn recognition by GFSI. What were the reasons? Chiefly due to the fact that this standard’s requisites are generic and do not detail the pre-requisite programs to be implemented.
Opportunism by FSSC 22000
This is where FSSC 22000 steps in. FSSC (Food Safety System Certification) is an independent agency that created a system based on ISO 22000, but is more specific to the point that it was acknowledged by GFSI.
FSSC 22000 is nothing more than:
- ISO 22000
- ISO 22003 – a technical specification that details which and how the pre-requisite programs should be implemented
- A number of additional requisites established by the owner
FSSC 22000 is less comprehensive than ISO 22000. It is currently applicable only to food processing companies, to catering, agriculture and manufacturers of food packaging. As new technical specifications are approved, this certification scope will be expanded.
It is important to keep in mind that FSSC 22000 is not the only standard acknowledged by GFSI. There are others such as IFS, SQF, BRC and GRMS, among others. Hence, FSSC 22000 is only one of the options for you to gain market respect. But of course, if you are already certified under ISO 22000, FSSC 22000 is the shortest path to obtain a GFSI-acknowledged certificate.
I hope I have helped in an overall understanding of the likely directions to follow in food safety management issues. We will go more deeply into each of these in future posts.
In the meantime, have a look at this infographic that I created on the use of food safety technology. I hope you will enjoy it!