International food safety standard revised to meet the evolving challenges of the food supply chain

21st June 2018

BSI, the business standards company, has published the revised international standard for food safety management. ISO 22000:2018 Food safety management systems – requirements for any organization in the food chain provides a framework based on best practice for any organization, from a small, family-owned farm to a multi-national food service outlet, to implement a comprehensive food safety management system.

The World Health Organization 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.1

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 organizations. 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. ISO 22000 specifies requirements for a food safety management system enabling organizations in the food chain to:

  1. Plan, implement, operate, maintain and update a food safety management system providing products and services that are safe, according to their intended use

  2. Demonstrate compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory food safety requirements

  3. Evaluate and assess mutually agreed customer food safety requirements and demonstrate conformity to them

  4. Effectively communicate food safety issues to interested parties within the food chain

  5. Ensure that the organization conforms to its stated food safety policy

  6. Demonstrate conformity to relevant interested parties

  7. Seek certification or registration of food safety management systems by an external organization or make a self-assessment or self-declaration of conformity to the standard

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.