ISO 22000 FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
People have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption. As you probably know, if you have been exposed to it before, food borne illness and food borne injuries are at best unpleasant, at worst they can be fatal. But there are other consequences. Outbreaks of food borne illnesses can damage trade and tourism and lead to loss of earnings, unemployment and litigation.
International food trade and foreign travel are ever increasing, bringing social and economic benefits. But this also makes the spread of illnesses around the world easier. Eating habits too have over the last two decades undergone major changes in many countries. New food production, preparation and distribution techniques have been developed to reflect this.
Throughout the world food safety is one of the most important issues in the food supply chain. Effective hygiene control and preventive measures are vital to avoid adverse human health and economic consequences of food borne illness, food injury and food spoilage. Everyone along the food supply chain including farmers and growers, manufacturers and processors, food handlers and consumers have a responsibility to ensure that food is safe and suitable for consumption.
Realizing the growing concern worldwide about food safety and the need to streamline standards in this area, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published ISO 22000, the new global standard for food safety management. ISO 22000 was developed over three years by experts from the food industry along with representatives of international organizations in close cooperation with the Codex Alimentarius. The standard is based on international best practices including ISO 9001 and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP), the formalized method of assessing safety risks in a food process. It also covers the key requirements of the key standards developed by the various global food retailers. ISO 22000 is applicable to all types of organizations within the food supply chain ranging from primary producers through to processing, storage and distribution, retail and catering as well as suppliers of food processing equipment and food ingredients. Although currently there are a number of private standards and certification schemes available on food safety management such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the German and French retailers international food standard (IFS), Eurep GAP etc. ISO 22000 is poised to be the â€œultimate catch it all standard for the food industry.
Whilst ISO 22000 can be implemented on its own, it is designed to be fully compatible with ISO 9001:2008 and companies that are already certified to ISO 9001 will find it easy to extend this certification to ISO 22000. To help users to do so, ISO 22000 includes a table showing the correspondence of its requirements with those of ISO 9001:2008. The Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) has adopted ISO 22000 as a national standard. The standard SAZS ISO 22000 is available on sale from the SAZ Information Centres in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare. SAZ has already launched training programmes on ISO 22000 to promote an understanding of the requirements of the standard. Since ISO 22000 is likely to replace the more general ISO 9001 standard in the food sector, SAZ has established an ISO 22000 food safety management system certification scheme.