Food safety standard ISO 22000 release marks start of 3-year transition period

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Related tags: Food safety management, Certification, Audit, International organization for standardization

The revised food safety management system standard ISO 22000:2018 has been published marking the start of a three-year transition period for certified companies.

It takes a precautionary approach to food safety by helping to identify, prevent and reduce foodborne hazards in the food and feed chains.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) said it is aimed at all organisations in the food and feed industries, regardless of size, sector or location.

Importance of hazard control

The non-government group, which has a membership of 161 national standards bodies, added globalisation further complicates food safety and every company must have adequate controls as hazards may be introduced at any stage of the process.

It is the first revision of the standard since 2005 and certified companies must move to the 2018 version by 19​ June 2021​ when the 2005 edition will be withdrawn.

ISO said the update makes it easier for organisations to combine ISO 22000 with other management systems (such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001) at a given time.

It has a new approach to risk that distinguishes between the operational and business level of the management system and strong links to Codex Alimentarius – a collection of internationally recognised standards and guidelines related to food.

The standard combines interactive communication, systems management, Prerequisite Programmes (PRPs) and the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).

Jacob Faergemand, chair of technical committee ISO/TC 34, food products, subcommittee 17, management systems for food safety, that developed the standard, said: “To meet the market needs for food safety, ISO 22000 is created by stakeholders who are involved in food safety organisations: governance, consumers, consulting, industry and research.

“When a food safety management system is developed by the users of ISO 22000, you make sure that requirements from the market are met.”

David Fatscher, head of sustainability and food at the British Standards Institution (BSI), said: “As a global standard with a global remit, ISO 22000 provides a framework for an organisation of any size or sector to implement a food safety management system based on best practice guidance.

"Food safety doesn’t stop at borders. To the benefit of suppliers and consumers across the world, ISO 22000 was revised to meet the growing challenges of increasingly international food supply chains.”

Solid framework for food safety management

Ingunn Midttun Godal, global food and beverage manager at DNV GL – Business Assurance, said the revised standard will provide an even more solid framework for food safety management.

“The landscape for food safety and food chains is transforming. The changes in the standard are a response to changes in business diversity, global commerce and digitalization in the last few years.

“We advise companies to get started on the transition preparations as soon as possible by familiarising with the changes, mapping gaps and prepare changes to their food safety management system.”

DNV GL has developed three packages to help companies start preparing, assess their level of readiness and complete the transition ahead of the deadline.

The packages include self-study material including webinars, e-learning, migration guidance, self-assessment checklists and classroom training courses; gap analysis of state of readiness and migration audits and benchmarking tools.

New approach to risk

Vincent Doumeizel, vice president of food and sustainability at Lloyd’s Register (LR), said the new approach to risk is interesting and fundamental in driving global food safety.  

“The long-anticipated publication of the revised ISO 22000 is a significant step; the standard is recognised throughout the global food supply chain and certification publicly demonstrates a commitment to food safety.”

LR serves more than 33,000 clients worldwide – from best-known brands to small suppliers.

Doumeizel said this helps it understand issues facing the market and alleviate client concerns.

“LR has long delivered assurance services against ISO 22000 and we welcome the publication of the new standard which we believe will further strengthen the food safety assurance options available to organisations within the food and feed sector,”​ he added.

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