Improperly handled food can cause illness, serious health problems and even threaten the life of consumers. Thus, it is essential to adequately control the entire production chain. ISO 22000 specifies food safety system requirements, from the first contact with raw materials to the final stages, such as packaging, transportation, and storage.
The standard can be applied to any company – regardless of its type or size – that is involved in the food chain; from animal feed producers and primary producers to food producers, transport companies, warehouses, and retailers.
ISO 22000 integrates the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and steps developed by Codex Alimentarius – a joint program between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
ISO 22000 Main Clauses
Clause 4: Food Safety Management System
This clause specifies the general requirements and documentation requirements for the food safety management system, including:
- Ensure that food safety hazards, which are within expectations, are identified, assessed and controlled so that the products do not harm the consumer;
- Share relevant information related to product safety issues throughout the food chain;
- Document food safety policy and the objectives;
- Document the procedures and records required by this International Standard;
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Clause 5: Management Responsibility
High-level management needs to show its commitment to the development, implementation and continuous improvement of the food safety management system, including:
- Support the company’s business objectives;
- Communicate the importance of complying with this international standard to the entire company;
- Comply with legal, regulatory and customer requirements related to food safety.
Clause 6: Resource Management
The day-to-day management of an effective food safety management system depends on the use of adequate resources to execute each task.
This includes competent employees with adequate (and demonstrable) training, support services, awareness, and communication.
This is proven with documented information. This clause also includes the requirements for creating, updating and tracking documented information.
Clause 7: Planning and Production of Safe Products
The company is responsible for planning and developing the processes required for producing safe products.
It should implement, operate and ensure the effectiveness of the planned activities and document any changes in those activities.
This includes Prerequisite Programs (PRP) and/or the HACCP plan.
Clause 8: Validation, Verification, and Improvement of the Food Safety Management System.
The company is responsible for planning and implementing the processes required for validating control measures (and their combinations) and to verify and improve the food safety management system.
The validation process is an evaluation before the operation, which demonstrates that individual control measures (or a combination of measures) are able to achieve the desired level of control.
This way, control measures must be validated by the company.
By adhering to the standard, companies will be able to:
- Plan, implement, operate, manage and update the food safety management system to ensure the provision of products that are safe for consumption;
- Demonstrate compliance with legal and regulatory food safety requirements;
- Evaluate customer requirements and demonstrate compliance with food safety requirements, in order to increase customer satisfaction;
- Effectively communicate food safety issues to suppliers, customers, and stakeholders;
- Ensure that the company complies with the established food safety policy;
- Demonstrate compliance to relevant stakeholders;
- Seek certification or registration of the Food Safety Management System by an external entity, or conduct a self-assessment or issue a self-declaration of compliance with this International Standard
Want to learn more?
In the white paper ISO 22000 – Food Safety Management System, our friends at PECB discuss in detail the main points of ISO 22000, including: the Food Safety Management System (Clause 4), Management Responsibility (Clause 5), Resource Management (Clause 6), Planning and Realization of Safe Products (Clause 7) and Validation, Verification and Improvement of the Food Safety System (Clause 8).