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At the beginning of 2017 the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) Foundation released the latest update to its enormously successful food safety standard FSSC 22000.

A woman holding a catering tray

The standard was released to bring what has been an already incredibly successful food safety standard right up to date with the latest requirements set by the GFSI in their benchmarking document 7.1.

While the previous versions of the FSSC standard had been comprehensive in their content and coverage there were some areas which would no longer fully comply with the new GFSI benchmarking document.

The standard itself is comprised of three components:

  1. ISO 22000:2005
  2. A series of Industry Based Pre-requisite programs (PRP):
    • ISO/TS 22002-1 PRP on food safety – Part 1: Food manufacturing
    • ISO/TS 22002-2 PRP on food safety – Part 2: Catering
    • ISO/TS 22002-3 PRP on food safety – Part 3: Farming
    • ISO/TS 22002-4 PRP on food safety – Part 4: Food packaging manufacturing
    • ISO/TS 22002-6 PRP on food safety – Part 6: Feed and animal food production
    • NTA8059 PRP on food safety for transport and storage
    • PAS 221 PRP on food safety for food safety in retail
  3. FSSC Additional Requirements

Flexible and straightforward

Using the globally recognized ISO 22000 as its foundation, FSSC 22000 provides a firm base from which a management system can be constructed. Complementing this with the requirements of the individual industry pre-requisite programs, as well as the additional FSSC prescribed requirements, makes the standard comprehensive but still flexible and straightforward to implement.

Additional requirements

The biggest change was within the FSSC additional requirements which has grown in number from seven to nine. However, it is not only the number but the content of the additional requirements that have changed.

  1. Management of services
  2. Product labeling 
  3. Food defense
  4. Food fraud prevention
  5. Logo use
  6. Management of allergens (for categories C, I and K only)
  7. Environmental monitoring (for categories C, I and K only)
  8. Formulation of products (for sub-category DII, pet food for dogs and cats only) 
  9. Management of natural resources (for category A only)

Within these new requirements one of the biggest changes is the increased focus on food fraud and food defense. As we are all aware the number of food fraud and food defense related incidents is on the rise. Certainly, in food fraud many of these incidents do not directly impact food safety, however they do impact on public perception of the participants within the food chain. These are both important considerations and although not completely new they are more formalized than previously and have defined requirements to conduct assessments and implement control plans to manage potential threats and vulnerabilities. These will require a detailed review of certified sites’ activities to determine how threats/vulnerabilities identified can be minimized or adequately managed to reduce overall risk level.

The new additional requirements present a more in-depth approach to food safety and will pose some greater challenges to already established food safety management systems.

As well as changes to the standard requirements there has been a change in the protocol regarding the conduct of the audits. The scheme now requires that at least one audit in the three-year cycle is performed unannounced. This is a completely unannounced audit with no prior warning or notification from the auditor. 

The introduction of a mandatory unannounced audit will significantly change the culture around food safety, moving it from a planned annual event into something that must be truly embedded within an organization.

As well as these changes, the scope of the scheme has also been increased to cover new areas within the food chain:

  • Transport and storage
  • Catering
  • Retail

These extra scopes allow the FSSC standard to be applied to the entire food chain, from farm to fork.

For sites with existing certification to FSSC it is mandatory to transition to the new standard in 2018. This can be done at a surveillance or renewal visit. If sites wish they can be certified to version 4.1 immediately.

SGS was recently accredited by UKAS to FSSC version 4.1 so we are now able to deliver accredited certification against the standard.

For more information, watch our recent webinar What’s new in version 4 of FSSC 22000?

For the complete range of SGS services and support visit SGS Food Safety.

For further information, please contact:

Neil Milvain
Global Product Manager – ISO/FSSC 22000
t: +44 7785 464696