Food safety management systems

Thursday, 05 July, 2007

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and ISO have released a product designed to make it easier for small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the food sector to benefit from the advantages of implementing a food safety management system.

Aimed at SMEs in developed and developing countries, the International Standard ISO 22000:2005 CD ROM could be the entry ticket to increased business in the global market and participation in cross-border food supply chains.

There exists a range of different retail and private schemes that may generate risks of uneven levels of food safety, confusion over requirements and increased cost and complication for suppliers that may find themselves obliged to conform to multiple programs.

Less than two years after the publication of ISO 22000, the standard has been implemented by organisations in more than 50 countries as an alternative to more than 20 food safety schemes developed by individual companies and groupings in the sector for auditing their suppliers.

The checklist consists of questions covering various aspects of the setting up, implementation and certification of a food safety management system according to ISO 22000. Working through the questions in a step-by-step manner will enable managers of an enterprise to determine the present status of their business and will help them identify main areas for improvement.

The checklist is in 13 parts, each covering a particular aspect of ISO 22000, with an explanation of the relevant requirement and guidance on how to incorporate it into a food safety management system geared to the needs of a user's enterprise. Depending on "yes' or "no' answers given to the checklist questions, the user is directed to the next stage or to additional guidance.

Certification is not a requirement of ISO 22000 and both the standard and the checklist can be usefully implemented even when certification is not the goal of the enterprise.

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