There have been an abundance of food safety standards throughout the world, but there are also variations between standards, their implementation and their auditing. With the success that the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) has had with harmonization of standards, it was logical that they be the ones to take on this issue through the development of an ISO Food Safety Standard. The standard, ISO 22000 was released in 2005. Since its release it has been successfully implemented in hundreds of companies around the world. The ISO 22000 Standard can be applied to any organization in the food chain, from the farm to the food packaging producer.
However, the Global Food Safety Initiative is another organization playing an important role in Food Safety Systems. This organization has “benchmarked” four existing food safety schemes. Once a system is “benchmarked” it means that certification to the scheme is accepted by organizations requiring a GFSI scheme. The current list of GFSI schemes includes IFS, SQF, BRC and Dutch HACCP.
Having a GFSI recognized certification can be important to a company that is selling to one of the major retailers that has chosen to require a GFSI scheme. Because this list includes such giants as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco, Metro, Migros, Ahold, and Delhaize, the GFSI recognition is very important to many food companies.
The question then, was could ISO 22000 be added to the list of GFSI standards? After a review of the requirements of the standard, it was determined that for the food manufacturers, GFSI would like to see more specific Prerequisite Program Requirements. This led to the development of a specific document PAS 200 (Published by BSI) specifying detailed PRP requirements for manufactures in the food industry.
The combination of the PRP document, PAS 220 and the ISO 22000 standard have now been benchmarked by GFSI. The GFSI benchmarked registration scheme is “FSSC 22000”. To register, a company will implement both the requirements of ISO 22000 and the PRP programs in PAS 22000. FSSC 22000 will only apply to food manufacturers, other organizations in the food chain will use ISO 22000.
The next step is to have an “Owner” for the scheme. The "owner" of FSSC 22000 is the Foundation for Food Safety Certification (FSSC), which will maintain the ownership and accredit certification bodies.
This decision will be driven by your market. If you are not a food manufacturer, the ISO 22000 will be the applicable standard. If you are a food manufacturer, your choice will be driven by what your customers are looking for. To move from ISO 22000 to FSSC 22000 requires only a review against the PAS 220 document, and an appropriately accredited registrar.