Food safety is related to the presence of food-borne hazards in food at the point of consumption. 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. Companies 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 organisations such as producers of equipment, packaging material, cleaning agents, additives and ingredients). Service providers are also included. Therefore, an effective food safety management system such as ISO 22000 can help ensure safety and mitigate risk.
ISO 22000:2005 specifies the requirements for a food safety management system. It combines the following 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
The standard is currently being revised and is due to be released in June 2018. This is the first revision of ISO 22000, since the 2005 version.
A number of significant changes have been introduced, not least of which is the introduction of the Annex SL format and terminology. Annex SL was developed in order to ensure that all future ISO management system standards share a common format irrespective of the specific discipline to which they relate.
Annex SL prescribes a high-level structure, identical core text, and common terms and core definitions.
The structure of ISO 22000 is modelled on the following principal clauses:
Clause 1: Scope
Clause 2: Normative references
Clause 3: Terms and definitions
Clause 4: Context of the organisation
Clause 5: Leadership
Clause 6: Planning
Clause 7: Support
Clause 8: Operation
Clause 9: Performance evaluation
Clause 10: Improvement
In the new disposition, the Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle is transposed as follows:
Clauses 4, 5, 6 and 7: Planning (Plan)
Clause 8: Operation (Do)
Clause 9: Performance evaluation (Check)
Clause 10 entered on risk-based thinking that helps to identify the relevant factors that could affect processes.
ISO 22000’s primary focus is on compliance with regulatory food safety requirements.
Changes have also been made to the approach used when assessing risk. Clarity has been added with regard to the operation process, and clear descriptions are now given to help distinguish between essential terms such as Critical Control Points (CCPs), Operational Prerequisite Programmes (OPRPs) and Prerequisite Programmes Improvement (Act) (PRPs).
Article 5 of Regulation (EC) 852/2004 states that food businesses must implement and maintain a food safety management system using HACCP. ISO 22000 can be used to support compliance with this legal requirement, helping to manage and monitor its use.