Food safety standard updated to serve evolving supply chain

Israeli food-tech firm heralds ‘breakthrough in food safety’
Credit: Alexander Raths

Business standards company BSI has published the revised international standard for food safety management.

ISO 22000:2018 Food safety management systems – requirements for any organisation in the food chain provides a framework based on best practice for any organisation, from a small, family-owned farm to a multi-national food service outlet, to implement a comprehensive food safety management system.

The World Health Organisation estimates that one in ten people fall ill and 420,000 die because of contaminated food every year.

The updated version of ISO 22000 – first published in 2005 – works to reduce this by helping food organizations implement food safety management systems that defend against the potential hazards and risks that lead to contamination.

Long and complex supply chains in today’s food production systems have led to food incidents and scares which impact consumers and cause economic loss to organisations. Adequate control throughout the food chain is therefore essential.

By combining the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle to manage business risk with HACCP to identify, prevent and control food safety hazards, ISO 22000 helps organizations to reduce exposure to risk and improve safety.

David Fatscher, Head of Sustainability and Food at BSI, said: “ISO 22000 is a global standard which addresses a global need: a food safety management system which recognizes that food supply chains are increasingly cross-border, with a typical supermarket stocking lamb slaughtered in New Zealand and asparagus picked in Peru.

“An organization implementing ISO 22000 is able to demonstrate to its customers and suppliers a commitment to providing safe foods and services that meet statutory and regulatory requirements, and conformity to an internationally recognized food safety management system.”

The standard has a structure for the operational requirements of food safety management, namely: operational planning and control; hazard control and control plans; and the updating of controls.

The requirements of ISO 22000 are applicable to all organizations in the food chain, irrespective of their size or complexity.

It can help farmers, food manufacturers, retailers, animal food producers and harvesters of wild plants and animals protect their livelihood by embedding a system that helps prevent foodborne illness and product recalls.

The standard is also of relevance to organizations providing food services, catering services, cleaning and sanitation services, transportation and food packaging materials.

This revised standard can also help organizations to support Goal 2 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, by reducing food hazards and improving food safety to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.