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What is ISO 22000?



ISO 22000 is intended to provide standards for food management systems. Food goes through many stages of growing, production, storage and transportation before it reaches the consumer's home. The goal of ISO 22000 is to protect against food hazards and ensure food safety. Companies that adhere to ISO standards can be certified that the company is compliant to implementing and following standard safety practices.



ISO 22000 Requirements


When a company is ISO 22000 certified, the company must have shown that it can create and maintain a "food safety management system." The company must also adhere to food safety regulations of the state or country where the company is located. The company must show that it is providing expected or required food safety that the customer expects. When a food safety issue arises, the company must inform anyone that may be involved in the supply chain, such as suppliers and customers. The company must adhere to its own food safety policy and demonstrate the conformity when requested by other organizations that have an interest in the company's food safety.



The decision to implement ISO 22000 standards and to become certified can occur by any participants along the food chain. A company that slaughter's livestock is an obvious choice to receive certification due to the higher risk of food safety hazards, however, the slaughterhouse is only one point in the food chain. Many other groups need the benefits of safety standards. According to Praxiom, a research group, examples of groups that benefit from ISO 22000 certification are farms, fisheries, dairies, meat or poultry processors, manufacturers of canned or frozen food, and snack or drink manufacturers. Other groups that benefit from certification include, restaurants, nursing home, hospitals, grocery stores, airlines and cruise ships. These groups may seem like obvious places where certification can help reduce safety risk, however, other industries can benefit from following ISO 22000 standards. Consider a company that produces plastic eating utensils or a company that launders napkins and tablecloths or a company that creates the containers that food is packaged in. Any of these points of contact with food can be a food safety risk.



When a food safety issue occurs, it may be difficult to determine where the safety issue originated. A contaminant may have occurred when the food was growing on a farm, in transport to the packaging company, in storage, en route to the grocery store or in the grocery store. A key concept behind the ISO 22000 standards is to ensure that the root cause of an issue can be traced by creation of a system to track the life cycle of food from its origin to the consumer. For example, if a company receives milk from 20 different dairies and a health risk is detected by one supplier, that milk can be removed from the food chain. By having processes in place to isolate the problem, the company can reduce its overall financial risk and protect the consumer.


An addition to the ISO 22000 standards was added in 2009. The new specification is called ISO/TS 22002:2009 and is intended to establish prerequisite programs in the food chain. For example, a company might develop a program for testing incoming products for contamination or the company may create a system to keep food segregated to reduce cross-contamination. Consider a company that allows incoming farm animals in the same loading docks as products going to market. Contamination could occur because a prerequisite system was not in place. The standards are implemented to consider where issues such as this can happen and determine methods to reduce the potential of a food safety hazard.


Benefits of achieving ISO 22000 include:


ISO 22000 opened the communications between producers, distributors and sellers. It raised the awareness of disease propagation through the fruits and vegetables and made everyone involved in the food chain process accountable for consumers’ safety. Traceability of the goods, one of ISO 22000 new rules, accelerates the investigation and source of the problem. It also allows finding the group consumers that may be affected.


And now; ISO 22000:2018,

This document specifies requirements for a food safety management system (FSMS) to enable an organization that is directly or indirectly involved in the food chain:

a) to plan, implement, operate, maintain and update a FSMS providing products and services that are safe, in accordance with their intended use;

b) to demonstrate compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory food safety requirements;

c) to evaluate and assess mutually agreed customer food safety requirements and to demonstrate conformity with them;

d) to effectively communicate food safety issues to interested parties within the food chain;

e) to ensure that the organization conforms to its stated food safety policy;

f) to demonstrate conformity to relevant interested parties;

g) to seek certification or registration of its FSMS by an external organization, or make a self-assessment or self-declaration of conformity to this document.

All requirements of this document are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organizations in the food chain, regardless of size and complexity. Organizations that are directly or indirectly involved include, but are not limited to, feed producers, animal food producers, harvesters of wild plants and animals, farmers, producers of ingredients, food manufacturers, retailers, and organizations providing food services, catering services, cleaning and sanitation services, transportation, storage and distribution services, suppliers of equipment, cleaning and disinfectants, packaging materials and other food contact materials.

This document allows any organization, including small and/or less developed organizations (e.g. a small farm, a small packer-distributor, a small retail or food service outlet) to implement externally-developed elements in their FSMS.

Internal and/or external resources can be used to meet the requirements of this document.