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On June 19, 2018, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published a long-awaited update to its Food Safety Management System – ISO 22000.

Since it was first published in 2005, ISO 22000 has remained largely unchanged, despite the transformations that have taken place in the food industry in the intervening years. This article looks at the way ISO 22000:2018 differs from its predecessor and considers some of its advantages for adopters.

ISO 22000 is a food safety management system that can be applied to any organization working along the food value chain. From farm to fork, it gives economic operators the ability to produce high-quality, safe food and show customers the importance they place on hygiene and safety.

A significant difference between the food safety standards culture in 2005 and now has been the development of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and its benchmarked standards. In many ways, certification to a GFSI benchmarked standard is the pinnacle for many food producers who want to demonstrate their food safety principles. These standards can be complex, however, and so there is still a place for ISO 22000 – a standard that provides the foundation of a good food safety system.

In common with all new or amended standards issued by ISO, the latest version of ISO 22000 is aligned with the High Level Structure (HLS) convention, or Annex SL. This allows an organization’s Food Safety Management System to be integrated with other ISO standards, for example ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems and ISO 14001 for Environmental Management Systems. The high level of integration makes it much simpler for businesses to adopt.

The adoption of the HLS convention has meant a significant number of changes in the way the standard is structured. In addition, the revision has also involved a complete review of the standard’s requirements and provides greater clarity by redefining concepts such as prerequisite programs (PRPs) and operational prerequisite programs (OPRPs). These will enable a simpler understanding and implementation of the process for companies.

The 2018 version of the standard is also more closely aligned with Codex HACCP. This ensures the implementation follows the Codex methodology more closely, with the requirements now comprehensively following the Codex steps. For an organization adopting ISO 22000, this means the development of HACCP is now embedded within the standard.

Implementation has also been simplified by the use of specific documented information being identified within the standard. Companies that follow ISO 22000 will therefore find the auditing process far simpler as, to prove compliance, all that will be required of them is to produce the correct set of defined documents.

Additional changes/improvements include:

  • Clarification of the application of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle so organizations can ensure their processes are adequately resourced and managed and that opportunities for improvement are acted upon. The revision adopts two inter-related PDCA cycles, the food safety management system and the product production/service delivery PDCA based around the Codex HACCP principles

The New PDCA Cycle

The New PDCA Cycle

  • A new approach to risk. The original version of the standard only considered the risk posed by the product to the final consumer through the application of the Codex HACCP principles. In the new version, Codex HACCP is still required but is supplemented by an organizational consideration of risk
  • Simplified clause structure that allows a more linear approach to implementation through the following of a step by step process

Benefits of Adopting ISO 22000:2018

Economic operators along the food value chain adopting the latest version of ISO 22000 benefit in several ways:

  • Better control over food safety activities
  • Assured customer, statutory and regulatory compliance
  • Facilitated market growth
  • Increased customer, stakeholder and consumer confidence
  • Improved risk management
  • Integration with other ISO management systems

To learn more about SGS services and support visit SGS Food Safety.

For further information, please contact:

Neil Milvian
SGS Global Product Manager ISO/FSSC 22000
t: +44 (0) 7785 464696