Food Safety Certification

Food safety is related to the presence of food-borne hazards in food at the point of consumption (intake by the consumer). As the introduction of food safety hazards can occur at any stage of the food chain, adequate control throughout the food chain is essential. Thus, food safety is ensured through the combined efforts of all the parties participating in the food chain. Organizations within the food chain range from feed producers and primary producers through food manufacturers, transport and storage operators and subcontractors to retail and food service outlets (together with inter-related organizations such as producers of equipment, packaging material, cleaning agents, additives and ingredients). Service providers are also included. This International Standard specifies the requirements for a food safety management system that combines the following generally recognized key elements to ensure food safety along the food chain, up to the point of final consumption: — interactive communication; — system management; — prerequisite programmes; — HACCP principles. Communication along the food chain is essential to ensure that all relevant food safety hazards are identified and adequately controlled at each step within the food chain. This implies communication between organizations both upstream and downstream in the food chain. Communication with customers and suppliers about identified hazards and control measures will assist in clarifying customer and supplier requirements (e.g. with regard to the feasibility and need for these requirements and their impact on the end product). Recognition of the organization's role and position within the food chain is essential to ensure effective interactive communication throughout the chain in order to deliver safe food products to the final consumer. An example of the communication channels among interested parties of the food chain is shown in Figure 1. The most effective food safety systems are established, operated and updated within the framework of a structured management system and incorporated into the overall management activities of the organization. This provides maximum benefit for the organization and interested parties. This International Standard has been aligned with ISO 9001 in order to enhance the compatibility of the two standards. Cross-references between this International Standard and ISO 9001 are provided in Annex A. This International Standard can be applied independently of other management system standards. Its implementation can be aligned or integrated with existing related management system requirements, while organizations may utilize existing management system(s) to establish a food safety management system that complies with the requirements of this International Standard. This International Standard integrates the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and application steps developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. By means of auditable requirements, it combines the HACCP plan with prerequisite programmes (PRPs). Hazard analysis is the key to an effective food safety management system, since conducting a hazard analysis assists in organizing the knowledge required to establish an effective combination of control measures. This International Standard requires that all hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur in the food chain, including hazards that may be associated with the type of process and facilities used, are identified and assessed. Thus it provides the means to determine and document why certain identified hazards need to be controlled by a particular organization and why others need not. During hazard analysis, the organization determines the strategy to be used to ensure hazard control by combining the PRP(s), operational PRP(s) and the HACCP plan.

To facilitate the application of this International Standard, it has been developed as an auditable standard. However, individual organizations are free to choose the necessary methods and approaches to fulfil the requirements of this International Standard. To assist individual organizations with the implementation of this International Standard, guidance on its use is provided in ISO/TS 22004. This International Standard is intended to address aspects of food safety concerns only. The same approach as provided by this International Standard can be used to organize and respond to other food specific aspects (e.g. ethical issues and consumer awareness). This International Standard allows an organization (such as a small and/or less developed organization) to implement an externally developed combination of control measures. The aim of this International Standard is to harmonize on a global level the requirements for food safety management for businesses within the food chain. It is particularly intended for application by organizations that seek a more focused, coherent and integrated food safety management system than is normally required by law. It requires an organization to meet any applicable food safety related statutory and regulatory requirements through its food safety management system.

 

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